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So, in a fit of unaccustomed culinary genius, I came up with this recipe a while back. Various folks in various places have tried it out, found it good, and indicated that something with a bit more specificity wouldn't go amiss.

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.

The obligatory this-is-what-you'll-need-to-make-this-dish shot:

WTF why is there a gigantic white space above my table

Ingredient Amount Calories % of total calories
sweet potatoes4.40 lbs179633
peanuts, shelled, unsalted0.5lb132824
olive oil8 tbsp96018
red wine2 cups64012
arugula5 cups2505
butternut squash530 g2124
Islay Scotch4 tbsp100>2
vegetable broth1 qt60>2
garlic1 medium bulb56>2
red onion1/2, medium22>2

Other ingredients:
• 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

Ingredients notes:
- 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).

What an entire bulb of garlic looks like minced. Drink it in, yo.

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.

Don't fret if the black, caramelized goop adheres. Black goop is goooooood.

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.

Fuck yeah, brown stuff.

6. In between stirring the garlic mixture, chop scallions finely and add to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste.

My idea of a dash of pepper

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.

Comme ça.

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.

Deglaze that pan. Oooooohhh, yeah. Deglaze the shit out of it. /South Park

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.



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 10th, 2012 09:38 am (UTC)
This soup of yours looks really tasty (and, yay, vegetarian), but sadly I don't think I have a pot nearly big enough to cook all that in. Which is a pity.
Jan. 10th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
Scale 'er down, yo. The sweet potato-to-squash ratio is flexible.
Jan. 10th, 2012 11:45 am (UTC)
That sounds AMAZING. I don't even have a kitchen, but I'm bookmarking this for future reference.
Jan. 10th, 2012 01:04 pm (UTC)
And never shall you lack for vitamin A.
Jan. 10th, 2012 01:57 pm (UTC)
Your table has that giant white space above it because there are like 30 <br> tags before it, lord only knows why.

Anyway, bookmarking this for future enjoyment.
Jan. 10th, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
I can't see the tags in either the entry's html or the page source view—how did you make them show up for you?
Jan. 10th, 2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
I used a magic browser tool -- Safari's "inspect element" command, though Firebug would have worked just as well. Still, if you can't see the extra spaces when you try to edit the entry, it's not going to be fixable. Thanks a bunch, LJ.
Jan. 10th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
In all fairness—though I hate to be fair—the problem originated on Dreamwidth, not here. In any case, thanks for verifying that I'm not just crazy.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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Elliptical Faulkner

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