Hearty soups are always a welcome part of fall. And, rather than focusing on just one soup this year, I thought I would put together a buffet of four flavorful soups and have a little party. I decided to make three of my own soups and then see if I could find a tasty artisan soup to add to the mix as well. The party also wouldn't be complete without some fresh bread and cheeses, a little beer and wine, and some sweets for dessert. I had a big shopping list that would probably have taken me to the grocery store and a number of different specialty stores. But, instead doing all the shopping myself, I decided to try a little experiment and see if I could have someone else do it for me. Enter the folks at Artizone.
Artizone is Chicagoland’s only online and year-round marketplace for fresh, small-batch, meats, produce and groceries conveniently delivered to your door the same or next day. Their deliveries include artisanal goodies from over 40 local food shops featuring well established businesses like Lincoln Park’s Gepperth’s Meat Market, Portage Park’s Hagen’s Fish Market, as well as upstarts like Vintage Vine’s Bloody Mary Mix and The Farinata Project’s traditional Italian chickpea breads. Artizone's product range also includes artisan cheeses from the Great American Cheese Collection and fresh produce from either Green Grocer or Artizone Fresh Produce so that you can fill a complete food order for any occasion without having to leave the home.
So, armed with my shopping list, Artizone delivered everything I needed for these three soups below and for my party overall. That made it easy for me to spend time in my kitchen making soups rather than running all over town for ingredients.
Apple Pear Squash Soup
makes about 2 quarts
1 tbl Butter
1 med Yellow Onion, chopped
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
2 med Tart Apples, peeled cored and chopped
2 med Pears, peeled cored and chopped
1 sm or 1/2 of a lg Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded and cubed to yield 4-5 cups
3 cu Chicken Stock
2 1/2 cups water
2 tbl Midnight Moon Apple Pie Moonshine, optional, or substitute Apple Juice
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
4 strips Bacon, cooked and chopped, optional for garnish
1/4 cu Pine Nuts, toasted, optional for garnish
6-8 oz Midnight Moon Apple Pie Moonshine, optional
Melt butter in a large pot over medium low heat. Add onions and celery. Sauté ingredients until onions are tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add apples, pears, squash, chicken stock, and water. Brink mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add moonshine, pepper, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and either use an immersion blender or countertop blender to blend until smooth. If you're using a countertop blender, BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE HOT MIXTURE. Blend in small batches. If your blender top has an insert, remove the insert and cover the opening in the top with a towel to allow steam to release but avoid splattering hot soup on you or your kitchen. Put soup back in the pot. Check the consistency of the soup. If it is too thick, add a little water or chicken stock.
Simmer mixture for at least an additional 10 minutes before serving. Ladle mixture into individual serving bowls and top with a bit of bacon and pine nuts. Offer your guest about an ounce of additional moonshine in a shot glass to pour over their soup just before enjoying.
White Bean Sausage & Spinach
makes about 2 quarts
1 lb Italian Sausage, mild or hot
1 tbl Butter 1 sm Yellow Onion, diced, about a cup 1 lg Carrot, diced
1 lg Celery Stalk, chopped 3 clove Garlic, smashed and minced 6 cu Chicken Stock
2 cans Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 tsp Oregano
1/2 tsp Pepper 3 cu Fresh Spinach, tightly packed 1/2 cu Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated, for garnish
Remove italian sausage from its casing if you're using links. Place sausage in a large pot over medium low heat and break apart further with a wooden spoon. Brown sausage and then remove from the pot and set aside.
Melt butter in the same pot and then add onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté ingredients until onions are tender and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Return sausage to the pot and add chicken stock, beans, oregano and pepper. Bring mixture just to a boil and then immediately reduce heat to a low simmer. Simmer soup for 40 minutes. If soup is too thick, add water to thin it a bit. Just before ready to serve, stir in spinach until it has fully wilted. Ladle soup into individual bowls and top with a bit of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Citrus Curried Carrot Soup with Roasted Shrimp
makes about 2 quarts
3 tbl Butter
2 tbl Olive Oil
1 Leek, mostly white, split, washed well and sliced
1 med Onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves Garlic, smashed and chopped
1 tsp Salt
1 tbl Curry Powder
1 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp Pepper
1 1/2 lb carrots, washed, tips and bottoms removed, roughly chopped
3/4 lb Cauliflower, roughly chopped
zest of an Orange
1 1/2 cu fresh Orange Juice
2 cu Vegetable Stock
2 cu Water
3/4 lb med shrimp, peeled leave tails on 8 (this is if you're serving only 4 guests), roughly chop remainder
1 1/2 tbl Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Curry Powder
1/4 tsp Tumeric
1/4 cu fresh cilantro, minced
4 Lime Wedges
4 Thin Lemon Slices
Heat butter and olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add leeks, onions, garlic and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender, translucent, but not browning, about 10 minutes. Add curry powder, coriander and pepper. Stir mixture for about a minute. Add carrots, cauliflower, orange zest, orange juice, water and vegetable stock. Increase heat and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove pot from heat and either use an immersion blender or countertop blender to blend until smooth. If you're using a countertop blender, BE VERY CAREFUL WITH THE HOT MIXTURE. Blend in small batches. If your blender top has an insert, remove the insert and cover the opening in the top with a towel to allow steam to release but avoid splattering hot soup on you or your kitchen. Put soup back in stockpot. Check the consistency and flavor of the soup. If it is too thick, add a little water or orange juice. Add additional seasoning if necessary.
To prepare shrimp, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven for 10 minutes until it is hot.
Separately, rinse shrimp in cold water and dry them really well with paper towels. Mix together olive oil, chili powder, curry, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper. Toss shrimp in the mixture to coat well.
Open oven and slide out rack with the hot baking sheet. Put shrimp on the baking sheet and roast for 8-10 minutes, turning them once to get color on both sides. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Set aside the shrimp that have tails and roughly chop the remainder.
To serve, divide chopped shrimp among 4 serving bowls. Pour soup over shrimp pieces. Top soup with the tail-on shrimp and then garnish the bowl with lime wedges, lemon slices and minced cilantro. You can also put a pinch of curry in the center of the soup (optional). Encourage your guests to squeeze the lime into the soup before eating.
All of the groceries and specialty items in this week's segment came from Chicagoland artisans and local stores, including the Tomato Bisque soup from Karl's Craft Soup in Oak Park, Illinois, and are available for home delivery from Artizone.