Cucurbit The Frog

This soup described an interesting trajectory over the course of a week, culminating in a pretty spectacular finale the other night.

It began as a puréed curry of collard greens, saag-style, but without the paneer because I had used up all the milk making camembert. I did use the resulting whey in the dish, though, so it had a gently insistent dairy sourness to it despite the absence of actual cheese. There was about a pint left after dinner, which I poured into a jar.

Then, upon arriving in Vermont, I made a puréed zucchini and shiso soup with lots of garlic. This is a fantastic combination, and you should all rush out and procure what you need to make it right away. Use whatever broth you have handy; I had made stock with lamb ribs, so I used that. Zucchini, shiso, and garlic combine to create an astonishingly complex flavor. Cook them until they’re soft enough to blend, but before they lose their lovely green color. I like green shiso better than red for this application. That’s the soup you see pictured here.

The next night, though, with more family arriving, I made a big pot of duck pho with the carcass from the last post, carefully stripping all the meat from the bones after it was done. I combined this meat with the lamb meat, also salvaged from the ribs after stockification, and shredded it all finely. This tangle of flash got a quick sauté with shallot and jalapeño, then sat aside while I combined the duck stock, the leftover zucchini soup, and the jar of green curry and let it all heat together. I also blended in that fire-roasted head of garlic that I left outside the night before.

I mounded a little island of meat in the center of each bowl, gently ladled in the soup, and topped each meat mound with a couple of jalapeño slices. The result would have been a meal, really, but for the lack of sufficient quantity. There’s nothing so inspiring as having jars of various stocks and leftover soupy concoctions on hand; they add immense value and depth of flavor, and all the effort has already gone into them.

Seriously, use some of your current surfeit of summer squash to make this soup, and get back to me about how utterly fabulous it was. If it wasn’t, then you did it wrong.

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One Comment

  1. August 9
    Reply

    There yo go with the technical jargon. How are mere amateurs supposed to know what “stockification” means?

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