It has been unseasonably cold in Toronto this past week so much so that I took my winter coat out of storage, grudgingly removed the dry cleaner's cover and wore it to work today. But it's not even Thanksgiving yet, I pleaded. Sigh.
So as my winter weather clothes come upstairs from our basement storage, it is time for me to pack away my the warm weather recipes of salads, light summer suppers and usher in thick woolly sweaters, slow cookers and comfort foods. So it begins...
Hmm. Did that sound overly negative about winter... Let me clarify... it's not a bad thing altogether. I do love comfort food. I love the warm, rich dishes we allow ourselves to indulge in when it's cold outside because we feel it fortifies our bodies and nourishes our souls... But I guess I was having a hard time, just because there are little green orbs on my tomato plant that sits on my backporch garden and there wasn't enough of the sun's rays to warm those little darlings to red. I just wasn't ready to say good bye.
Well, not all of summer is lost, yet... While the air feels chilled, there is still one remnant of summer with us. Our CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) half summer share continues for the rest of this month. In the early days of summer, we received tastes like garlic scapes, rhubarb, and strawberries. As the summer progressed, we were treated to tastes like exotic lettuce mixes, garlic, onions, herbs, peppers, potatoes, jalapenos, cantalopes, and watermelon. The half share brought a connection to the earth we never had before with our food. While we do our best to eat local, support the farmer's markets and eat foods in season, our weekly bounty from our organic CSA really made an impact to the way we think about our environment and the challenges farmers face.
This June, it rained hard and our first half pint of strawberries were on the small side and pock marked. The following week, the weather had improved and our strawberries were bright, fragrant and juicy. As an "owner" of a half share of a CSA farm, we are receive a "share" of the weekly harvest. What the weekly share is is highly dependent on what is ready to be harvested by the farm's owners. In the earlier weeks of the summer when the weather was unseasonably cold, our weekly box reflected this. At the height of summer, we would gasp at how many vegetables were in our box. There were weeks where we struggled to eat the contents of our "half share" and this week was no exception.
Now as summer fades into fall, our summer deliveries are winding down but our weekly take is still bountiful. With a small bunch of broccoli threatening to whither, about a pound of potatoes, and a bright grapefruit size white onion, I decided that a warming, hearty soup would be a good use of some of the gorgeous produce we received this week. It was also a good excuse to use my new Le Creseut dutch oven.
Broccoli Potato Soup
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 bunch of broccoli - washed well - no stalks
5-6 medium sized white potatoes - peeled
1 medium sized onion (or a half of one large one)- chopped roughly
1 liter of vegetable stock
1. In a large Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute gently. Sweat the onions, until they are soft and glossy.
2. Chop the potatoes into a large chunks and add to the pot.
3. Add broccoli and vegetable broth. Lower heat to a simmer and cover.
4. Cook until the potatoes are soft and crumble underneath your spoon.
5. Carefully, insert an immersion blender and whiz the soup until smooth and creamy. Do this slowly and carefully. If the soup is too thick, you can thin it out with additional vegetable broth. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning.
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