Precision is the enemy of this soup. It works best if you wing it and stop whenever it looks/smells/feels/tastes about right. Nevertheless, for those interested—and, more than anything else my own reference—I have chronicled a batch using actual measurements and things, toted up the calories involved, and measured the total volume of the result. This version has less profanity and more information. I wouldn't say it's the better for it. But, hey, pictures of food.
|Ingredient||Amount||Calories||% of total calories|
|sweet potatoes||4.40 lbs||1796||33|
|peanuts, shelled, unsalted||0.5lb||1328||24|
|olive oil||8 tbsp||960||18|
|red wine||2 cups||640||12|
|butternut squash||530 g||212||4|
|Islay Scotch||4 tbsp||100||>2|
|vegetable broth||1 qt||60||>2|
|garlic||1 medium bulb||56||>2|
|red onion||1/2, medium||22||>2|
• 3 cups water
• salt and pepper to taste (no, I didn't measure, fuck off)
Total yield: 17 cups
Calories per 1-cup serving: 322
Other nutritional information:
• calories from fat: kind of a lot
• some insane amount of vitamin A, IDEFK
- Q: "1 bulb of garlic? Did you mean a clove?" A: No. No, I didn't. You need an entire bulb of garlic—AT LEAST. Seriously, this time I wish I'd used more. Despite how it sounds, this dish won't even come out tasting distinctly and identifiably garlicky, believe it or not, so go nuts.
- Scotch: having made this a couple times, I really do think it's important to use a very peaty, smoky Scotch—that is, an Islay Scotch. It interacts with the arugula in this weird way and does good things. If you don't drink Scotch generally, it doesn't have to be Laphroiag; someone on Ravelry made it with the cheapest Islay she could find and pronounced it amazing. However, I've yet to experiment with different liquors, such as bourbon. Very possibly the soup would still be delicious without the Scotch, but it would have a different character.
- This batch was made with olive oil only because I'm dieting (shutup), but, not gonna lie, it's better with butter. Or a combo of the two. So, if you're not worried about such things, break out the butter for browning the garlic/onion/peanut mixture.
- I used more yams in this batch to compensate for a small-ish squash; I think a higher squash-to-yam ratio would have been smoother and richer.
- The arugula in this batch was really too pungent; the result is more bitter than I'd like. Check how strong yours is first; if you need to cut back but still want lots of greenery, make up the difference with spinach.
If you care about brands & things:
1. Bake butternut squash and sweet potatoes at 380º F. Check them after 1'20", but be prepared to cook them longer: you want the skins to be blackened a good bit on the bottom, and the squash to be well browned on top. Basically, when you think they've got to be ready to come out, give them just a bit longer (10-20 mins). Remove from oven and split to allow them to cool.
2. Mince garlic finely, chop onion sorta-finely, and crush peanuts. Combine them in skillet with the olive oil (you may not need all of it).
Wish I'd used more onion than this. Like the garlic, its taste will mellow into the whole a lot.
Smack those peanutty bastards with the flat of the mallet.
There's really no reason for this picture; it's just gratuitous food porn. LOOKIT ALL THAT GARLIC.
3. Slip sweet potatoes and squash out of their skins, remove seeds, and add to soup pot.
4. Pour vegetable broth over the squash/yams and mash with a fork until fairly smooth. Add the Scotch, mix well, cover, and simmer over low – medium-low heat.
5. Cook the garlic, onion, and peanuts over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until well and thoroughly browned, ~10-15 minutes.
6. In between stirring the garlic mixture, chop scallions finely and add to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Remove skillet from heat. Chop arugula and add to pot; stir; add water; stir. At this point, it will be very pretty, all bright green and orange.
What it is not, at this stage, is palatable. I repeat: this stuff does not yet taste good. Fear not, for it will.
8. Pour 1/2 cup or so of the wine into the skillet and return to not-quite-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, for just a minute or so.
9. Immediately transfer the contents of the pan to the pot; also add the rest of the wine. Stir.
10. Cover and simmer, stirring whenever you remember to (every 15–30 minutes?), for as long as it takes for the soup to mellow. This batch took almost two hours, but the arugula was quite strong.
The finished product will no longer be pretty—in fact, it will look like a vast well of baby vomit—but trust me, that is some good shit.
Et voilà. Yield: 17 cups.
Other notes: freezes well; keeps well.
It bears repeating: precision is so the enemy of good soup. This batch is still great, but not as good as the last. Of course, I wasn't bouncing off the walls like a rubber ball out of a pitching machine this time, which likely has something to do with it. What I can't tell is if it was the mania making it more awesome last time, or if it was the mania making it more awesome last time in, you know, the other way.