Archive for the ‘Soup’ Category

Pumpkin leek soup

3 December 2010

I like soups that don’t require the use of broth. I’m not very good at keeping a constant supply of homemade broth in the freezer, and I’d rather not use the store bought variety if I can help it, so any soup that is delicious just by virtue of the vegetables included deserves closer attention.

This pumpkin leek soup is adapted from a recipe by French chef Paul Bocuse featured in a German-language cookbook my grandmother passed on to me quite a while ago. A lot about the cookbook, which is from 1985, seems dated — the style, photographs, clunky dishes, desserts just a bit too sweet. But there are a few gems, including this pumpkin soup. It has just five ingredients (and no broth!).


3.5 lbs (1.5 kg) pumpkin or squash [to yield approximately 8 cups (1 kg) once seeded, peeled, and cut into cubes]

8 medium leeks [to yield approximately 4 cups (400g) once peeled and sliced]

2 medium potatoes [to yield approximately 1 1/2 cups (200g)]

3 Tbsp butter

1 cup (250 ml) milk


Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Crème fraîche (optional)


Cut off leeks’ dark green outer leaves and wash under running water to remove dirt. Cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) slices and wash again in cold water to eliminate the remaining grit. Remove skin and seeds from squash and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) cubes. Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) cubes.

Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add leeks, and let sweat for about 4-5 minutes. Add potatoes and squash, milk, and enough water to reach the top layer of vegetables without covering completely. Season with salt and pepper and let simmer partly covered for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

Check and adjust seasoning, and serve with crème fraîche if desired. Like most soups, wait until tomorrow and it will taste even better.

Baby food* | Lentils

16 November 2010

The other day I decided to make one of my favorite recipes from Moro cookbook: lentil soup with cumin. It’s a wonderful recipe that requires little else besides lentils and cumin – with cumin, of course, being the key. We had friends over for dinner and I was quite excited about making this soup. It’s simple and delicious, and perfect just as it is.

But I must have underestimated how often I have made this recipe recently, because the guests had already arrived and I was about to start the soup when I realized that I had run out of cumin. Thomas went out to get the indispensable spice from a store close by and returned with deceptively labeled coarsely ground black pepper… So, I had to improvise – I used curry powder and fresh sage leaves instead.

Typically the story should end with a revelation, a new wonderful recipe discovered by necessity. But no, unfortunately, Moro’s lentil soup with cumin has no cause to envy my lentil soup with sage and curry. Sage did seem like a good idea, however, and since I cannot resist tweaking recipes, even those that need no tweaking, this week I made lentils with sage and cumin for Louise.


1 medium onion

Olive oil

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

2 sage leaves

1 cup (200g) red lentils


Slice onion finely. Heat a good drizzle olive oil in a small heavy bottomed saucepan, add onion and let sweat, stirring occasionally, over medium heat.

Thinly slice garlic clove, grind cumin seeds in a mortar, and wash lentils under running water through fine mesh sieve.

Once the onion starts to brown, add garlic, cumin, and sage leaves. Stir well and let cook for about a minute. Add lentils, stir well again. Add 3 cups (750 ml) water. Cover and cook at a lively simmer for about 30-40 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Blend the lentils, squeeze a few drops of lemon juice before serving.

*This doesn’t have to be just for babies. Add Maldon sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, a drop of excellent olive oil, and a hint of harissa and it makes a very decent soup.

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