For those of us who grow this delicious vegetable in our gardens every year, we inevitably find a proliferation of zucchini (courgette/green) and yellow squash (summer squash) about midway through summer. Ideas using this bounty range from making breads, casseroles, to marinating and grilling, or breading and frying.
One of the simplest and most overlooked ideas is preparing a simple soup. Cream of Courgette soup is versatile. It can be made with chicken or vegetable stock and is equally delicious with either. I grow my own fresh herbs–chives, parsley, tarragon, thyme–which make this soup perfect for summer. Cream of Courgette Soup can be very elegant as well. Garnish with a knob of sour cream, grated Pecorino Romano and a sprinkling of fresh chopped chives.
Courgette/Zucchini, Summer Squash which is it?
For my North American readers, a courgette is the french term for a zucchini which is a type of green squash. Summer squash, which is more prolific in the United States, is also known as yellow squash, straight, or crooked neck squash.
What is Roux?
Simply put, roux is a thickening agent for soups or sauces. It’s a combination of flour with a fat such as butter, oil, bacon drippings, duck renderings, etc,. Check out my Chocolate Roux recipe instruction on Gumbo YaYa. I’m using butter here since it’s a perfect match with the flavor of the squash.
For this recipe, first melt 2 tbsp of butter in a small sauce pot and add 1/3 cup of flour. Stir to combine. Create a medium thick slurry. Allow the roux to cook for a few minutes before adding it to the soup. Cooking the roux first will prevent the unpleasant raw flour flavor in the final product. If desired, substitute with cold water mixed separately with corn or potato starch. The thickness of the soup can be adjusted for personal preference.
Make this soup your own. There are dozens of variations:
- For a vegetarian option, add vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.
- Deglaze with white wine to add another layer of umami. Cook most of the wine out before adding the stock.
- Puree the finished soup in a blender for a smooth consistency.
- Substitute cold water mixed with potato or cornstarch as the thickener.
- Whisk in 1/2 cup sour cream/crème fraîche directly to the soup for a richer flavor.
- Float a thinly sliced crostini in the center with a dollop of crème fraîche and caviar for a more elegant presentation.
Cream of Courgette (Summer Squash) Soup
- cutting board
- large pot
- small pot
- chef knife
- measuring spoons and cups
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 medium onion, small diced (peeled and cored)
- 3 stalks celery, small diced
- 3 cloves garlic, large, minced
- 2½ lbs squash, diced or halved sliced (Yellow squash, green squash or a comibination of both as I did here)
- 1 tbsp tarragon, fresh minced
- 1 tbsp thyme, fresh (stems removed) minced
- 2 tsp parsley, fresh (stems removed) minced
- 2 whole bay leaf
- onion, granulated or powdered to taste
- cayenne pepper, ground to taste
- 1 tsp pepper, white
- 2 tsp salt
- ⅓ cup white wine for deglazing vegetables (optional) Allow the wine to cook out to get rid of the alcohol before adding the chicken or vegetable stock.
- 1 quart stock, chicken or vegetable
- ⅓ cup roux, white (3 tbsp melted butter/ 3 tbsp flour mixed and then cooked briefly for 2 minutes before adding) (Substitute with water mixed either cornstarch or potato starch.)
- 1½ cup cream (For fewer calories substitute plain yogurt.)
- 1 tsp sour cream or crème fraîche (optional, but highly suggested) per serving
- 1 tsp cheese, Pecorino Romano grated (optional, but highly suggested) per serving
- 1 tsp chives finely chopped (optional, but highly suggested) per serving
- Core and peel the onion and dice fine. Reserve.
- Clean and dice the celery and reserve.
- Peel the garlic cloves, smash with side of a knife and mince and reserve.
- Thinly slice the courgette (zucchini/green) summer squash (yellow) into small cubes and reserve.
- Prepare the fresh herbs by stripping them from the stems and chop fine. Reserve.
- Using a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, add the oil and bring up to temperature. The oil should be shimmering from the heat, but not smoking.
- To the hot oil, add the onion and celery. Cook until very tender.
- Add the minced garlic and cubed squash. Stir to combine thorougly. Cook until the squash is tender and soft.
- Add the herbs and seasonings to the vegetables (tarragon, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, granulated onion, cayenne, white pepper and salt). Stir to combine and cook together for 5-8 minutes until the mixture has married the seasonings/herbs and vegetables.
- Using a high temperature spatula or large kitchen spoon, check to see if most of the juice has cooked down. The vegetables should be cooked soft, but not browned.
- Deglaze the pot with ½ cup white wine and reduce until the wine has cooked off, or add the vegetable or chicken stock straight away and stir to incorporate. Allow the soup to heat up the stock.
- Make the blonde roux or slurry with corn/potato starch.
- Blonde Roux-Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a sauce/small pot over medium heat.
- Once the butter is melted add 3 tbsp of all purpose flour. Stir to incorporate.
- Allow the flour to cook into the butter for a few minutes before adding it to the soup. The roux should be blonde or lightly golden. (Make more roux, if you desire, for other uses or as you need it.)
- Create a slurry with equal parts corn/potato starch and cold water.
Finishing the Soup
- Once the stock and the soup have come up to temperature (185°-190°F/85°-88°C), add the roux to thicken the soup.
- Stir for 3-4 minutes to incorporate. (If you desire a thicker soup just make more roux and add it in as needed.)
- To make a creamy soup, add the cream and stir to incorporate. For a richer flavor, add a cup of sour cream/creme fraiche and stir to incorporate.
- Allow the soup to marry the flavors and reduce the temperature to warm. Serve immediately or cool completely and store in the refrigerator until needed.
Serving the Cream of Courgette Soup
- Serve the soup hot using 1½ - 2 cups per entrée or 1 cup as an appetizer.
- Garnish with an additional dollop of sour cream, fresh snipped chives and a sprinkling of Pecarino Romano.