I don’t think I am the only one with this problem. I have heard stories of people magically finding zucchini on their front porch or stashed in their car during church. I faithfully pick all the zucchini I can find every morning–every last one jack one–and then later find at least one monster zucchini camouflaged under leaves. Here is a tasty, convenient and healthy way to preserve this abundance for cold winter days when it can be appreciated.
Pureed Soup Base
- 3 large onions, thinly sliced
- 6 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 18 cups thinly sliced summer squash
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 1 cup minced, fresh herbs (parsley, basil, or tarragon)
In a large skillet, saute onions until soft in butter or vegetable oil. Add water, squash, peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cover mixture and cook slowly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add fresh parsley, basil, or tarragon.
Puree mixture in processor, blender, or food mill. Cool mixture to room temperature and pack in pint freezer containers.
For soup. Combine 1 1/2 cups of milk with each pint of thawed puree. Add 1 cup of chicken broth or its equivalent in granules. Season to taste and serve soup hot.
For a baked squash dish. Add 2 beaten eggs to 1 pint of thawed puree. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Place dish in a larger container with 1 inch of water and bake at 350 degrees F. for 30 minutes.
Source: The New Zucchini Cookbook, by Nancy C. Ralston & Marynor Jordan
Ileen’s comments: Yes, 1/4 cup is all the water you need. [I think the 3-minute cooking time given in the cookbook was a printing error.] Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is soft and has released its juice. This will take a while, but when the vegetables are cooked the liquid does indeed completely cover all of them. I used a 6-quart heavy pan. I didn’t have quite enough zucchini, so I added a sliced cucumber and a few green beans. I have made this with red or yellow peppers I had in the freezer when I didn’t have green peppers, and it tasted fine. You can use monster zucchini, seeds and all, and you will never know they are there. I also use virgin coconut oil or avocado oil instead of regular cooking oil.
I added a big handful of basil leaves (about 2 cups loose leaves) and used an immersion blender to puree the soup. This still left little green flecks of basil, so I processed the soup in my Vita-Mix blender and then poured it into the freezer containers.
To make the soup, I used the thick, canned coconut milk thinned with water 1:1 in place of regular milk cow’s milk. I did not add the additional water or chicken broth to the soup, as I like it thick and creamy.
You could add any garnishes or extras you like.
Yield: About 10 to 12 cups of puree or enough to make five batches of soup. Each batch will serve four.