~more recently updated recipes~
Original 2006: I fell in love with the name, Gypsy Pot. I swooned over the everyday ingredients in uncommon combination. In short order, I moved to the kitchen to begin the peeling and chopping for a somehow completely familiar and yet altogether new soup that is a Gypsy Pot. It's earthy peasant food and something sublimely sophisticated both at once. The inspiration comes from The Traveler's Lunchbox, whose own inspiration comes from Anya von Bremzen's The New Spanish Table.
NEXT TIME This isn't a soup to start when you're in a rush, instead one to savor the experience of cutting and chopping and cooking. It takes 20 minutes alone to peel a &^%&^^%$$ butternut squash. (I've seen the chunks at Trader Joe's but think they look nasty!) While the soup first simmered, I should have kept right on with the garlic/almond and onion/tomato mixtures which took longer than expected.
Update 2014: A romantic allure still attracts me to Gypsy Pot. But this time, I streamlined the recipe to limit the hands-on time and yes, I've now conquered the butternut squash, now I can wrangle one into neat cubes in five minutes flat, you can too. :-) Just check out How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers. Another thing. The first time I made this soup it was late winter, it was a decidedly wintry pot. But this time I made it in September with fresh vegetables from the garden. Again, swoon ...
Two things make this soup different than others. The first is fruit, two under-ripe pears that add sweetness but keep their structure. The second is a gorgeous garlic-almond paste that both thickens and seasons the soup.
RECIPE for GYPSY POT
Time to table: 60 minutes
Makes 12 cups
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves, skins peeled off, cloves flattened with back of a knife
1/4 cup toasted almonds
1 large onion, diced
1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
2 under-ripe still-firm pears, cut into cubes
1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds, cut into cubes (How to Cut, Peel & Cube a Butternut Squash and Keep All Ten Fingers)
2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
15 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
8 cups good stock
1/2 cup green beans, ends snipped, cut into bite-size lengths
2 ripe tomatoes, diced (or 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes)
Salt & pepper throughout
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Fresh mint, optional
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil until shimmery, stir in garlic cloves and almonds, let sizzle until cloves begin to turn golden. With a slotted spoon, transfer garlic and almonds to a small food processor, leaving the oil behind. Process the garlic-almond mixture until it forms a grainy paste; set aside. Stir the onion and paprika into the hot oil, let cook, stirring often, until onion turns golden.
Add squash, carrots, chickpeas, garlic-almond paste and stock to the pot as they're prepped. Bring to a boil and let simmer until squash and carrots are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in beans, let cook most of the way. Stir in tomatoes and warm through.
To finish, stir in red wine vinegar and fresh mint.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
OLIVE OIL Usually, I'd drop the oil back to a single tablespoon but it really works here, creating a rich, meal-worthy soup.
IS THAT TURKEY? Careful examination will show that there's turkey in the soup in the photography, none shown in the recipe. That's because when I remade Gypsy Pot in 2014, I pulled a bag of turkey stock out of the freezer and much to my chagrine, learned that "someone" (not me!) had bagged the stock before straining it. Turns out, however, the turkey meat was quite wonderful in the soup.
WHAT KIND OF STOCK? I used chicken and turkey, but use vegetable broth for a vegan soup.
HEAT THE STOCK Save some time by heating the stock in the microwave before adding it to the soup pot.
SEASON, SEASON, SEASON With each addition, season the soup with salt and pepper. With unseasoned homemade stock, you'll find yourself adding quite a lot of salt and pepper both.
FRESH MINT I found mint essential in 2006 but in 2014, with two big pots full of mint just outside the kitchen, forgot to add the mint and didn't miss it!
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MORE FAVORITE RECIPES for SIMPLE, HEALTHY SOUPS
~ Cabbage & White Bean Stew ~
~ Peasant Cabbage Tomato Soup ~
~ Greens 'n' All Beet Soup ~
~ more soup recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ How to Make Homemade Vegetable Soup ~
~ Laura's Healthy Carrot Soup ~
~ Quick Cauliflower Soup or Quick Broccoli Soup ~
~ Spinach Soup with Perfect Hard-Cooked Eggs ~
~ more soup recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.
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