My menu planning recently has revolved around my recuperating mother and the foods that appeal to her. She loves vegetables, but in the immediate aftermath of knee replacement surgery the whole process of chewing seemed daunting. Vegetable soups, particular SMOOTH ones, were just the ticket. I like to vary between smooth and chunky soups. It’s sort of like adding nuts to chocolate. Sometimes you feel like a purist, and sometimes you need something chunky to get you going. This zucchini basil soup recipe is courtesy of Chef Anne McAllister who wanders in and out of my kitchen on a regular basis – bringing joy and good food to my family and friends (and we love her for it). This soup makes an elegant and easy “Amuse Bouche” course if you’re having friends over for dinner. Make it in advance and serve it in small espresso cups before you serve the rest of dinner.
Zucchini Basil Soup (serves 6)
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 2 leeks, white parts only, washed carefully and thinly sliced
- 1 large shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 ½ lbs zucchini, coarsely chopped
- 6 cups organic chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock for vegetarian version)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 10 large fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup whole milk plain yogurt or Greek yogurt (drop for vegan version)
- 2 teaspoons salt
Heat the butter or olive oil in a soup pot or Dutch Oven. Add the leeks, shallot and garlic and sauté until soft, about 10-12 minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer until the squash is just soft (not mushy), about 15 minutes. Add the lemon zest and lemon juice.
In batches process the soup in a blender until it is very smooth. Gradually add the fresh basil leaves while you are processing the soup.
Once it is smooth put it back in the pot. Add the yogurt (can be skipped if you want a dairy free soup). Add salt and pepper as needed. I added two teaspoons of salt and no pepper. You might want to try white pepper instead of black pepper. It has a smoother taste.