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Saturday, November 28, 2015

Navy Bean, Squash, Apple Soup with Pumpkin Oil

winter cooking, cold weather soups, cooking with apples

One of two choices is available to Chicagoans in November.  We can either wrap ourselves in existential depression lamenting the disappearance of warmer weather until April, or we can break out snow pants and embrace fall.  One of the things that help me embrace the cooler weather is my winter cooking folder.  It’s full of recipes for nurturing soups, cozy pies and other comfort foods that keep our kitchen warm and our bellies content.  My one other secret weapon is pumpkin oil. 

Do you cook with pumpkin oil?  I seriously don’t know how we ever lived without pumpkin oil until I discovered it a few years ago.  I’m convinced it makes everything taste super nourishing.  I add it to everything: soups, salads, side dishes, main courses, desserts … I go through a bottle a month.  I often buy my pumpkin oil at a Russian store, but I also have it on amazon subscribe-and-save.   My favorite oil brand is La Tourangelle.  Their hazelnut oil is fantastic, and so are pumpkinavocado, sesame and walnut oils.   And not just for cooking.  I massage a few drops into my hands to keep them super soft all winter.  

This is one of our favorite soups from my winter repertoire.  It came together organically and over time.  At first it was a butternut squash soup, then apples made it into the mix, later we tried it with beans just because I already had some handy, and finally pumpkin oil added a wonderful final touch.   I use homemade chicken stock and home cooked beans, but feel free to make it with store bought organic stock and canned beans. 

Navy Beans, Squash, Apple Soup 

with Pumpkin Oil 
Pumpkin oil  - 2 TBSP + extra for each bowl
Onion - chopped
Salt – 1-2 tsp
Garlic – clove chopped
Chicken or Vegetable broth (homemade is best) - about 4 cups 
Butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
Baby navy beans, cooked
Granny Smith apples – 2 chopped
Chilli powder to taste – about 1 tsp
Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add onion and salt and sauté about 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
3. Add squash, apples, and spices and sauté for a few minutes stirring constantly.

4. Add broth, bring to boil and simmer covered about 20 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with fork.
5. Add beans to the pot and keep cooking for about 5 more minutes until beans are heated through.

6. Using immersion blender puree soup until smooth. 

7. Serve hot with extra pumpkin oil and a sprinkle of chili powder for extra heat.   

If it seems to you like too much work for a pot of soup, let me in on another secret.  This soup freezes exceptionally well.  Any time you come home after a long day of being out in a freezing temperatures, drop a bag of frozen soup into a pot (cut off the freezer bag with scissors) and by the time you change your comfy clothes you will have a cup of steaming, nourishing, homemade soup that tastes amazing and is healthy to boot.  

cold weather cooking, comfort soups, pumpkin oil, cooking with apples

What's your favorite cold weather soup? 

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