Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Florence Nightingale Soup

It must have been a miserable fall for the healthcare community.  Not only have these folks been in the spotlight in terms of new legislation (which let me tell you, as part of the financial community, that's NEVER a fun spotlight to be in) but they've also been swamped with more patients than ever.  My mom aka. Best Public Health Nurse in the State, has been doing double duty helping low-income women find breast and cervical cancer screening and moonlighting as a flu shot provider on the weekends.  Craziness.

I'm officially up to using both hands to count the number of people in my office who have caught H1N1, and while I really want to call this soup by that name, I think I should opt for inciting, rather than funny, no? Flo Night Soup it is.

My Scandinavian genetics have been holding strong and diligent vitamin popping has certainly paid off this fall.  No serious colds or influenza, yet, hand-sanitized-fingers crossed.  I picked up this recipe from Coco Pazzo's chef demo at the Green City market this summer and so far, have made it for 2 under-the-weather loved ones.  I've been reading lately about how fantastic mushrooms are for your immune system and I may say that this soup is proving their point.  It will stick to your ribs, pump you full of vitamins and is much much much better on the second day.  I have used fresh herbs and even the frozen ice cubes I make every summer from abundant herb producers on my windowsill and both are equally flavorful-- quantity of herbs is the key here.  The caramelized butternut squash adds a nice sugary snap to the deep salty flavored mushrooms.

Florence Nightingale Soup
2 cups 1/2 cubed butternut squash, peeled
2 t cinnamon

2-3 T olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
1 leek, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 c mixed mushrooms
1/2 c dried porcini mushrooms

1/2 c mixed herbs (tarragon, sage, rosemary, basil) chopped
2 cups bulgar
3 quarts chicken stock
salt & pepper
1 bay leaf

In a medium saucepan, heat 1 T oil.  Add butternut squash and cinnamon and sautee until carmalized well, about 5 minutes.

In a large soup pot, saute onion, celery, leek and carrots until the onions turn translucent.  Season with salt and pepper. Add sliced mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms release some of their liquid.   Add dried mushrooms and bulgar and caramelized butternut squash.  Add chicken stock and bay leaf and bring to a simmer.  Adjust seasoning and cook until bulgar is tender (probably about 20-30 minutes). 

Starch from bulgar will thicken up this soup A LOT!!  I always buy a whole extra carton of chicken stock to add to each serving as I reheat.  Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup stock to each full cup of soup. 

Again, this soup is much better the next day and promises to be a lovely healthy kick in the butt for your loved ones.  A votre santee!


  1. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you....

  2. looks awesome! Shannon