Inside: healthy comfort soup to make with your kids during the cold months of the year. It’s especially great along with some children’s books featuring France.
One of two choices is available to Chicagoans at this time of year. We can either wrap ourselves in existential depression until April, lamenting the disappearance of warmer weather, or we can break out snow pants and embrace the cold.
One of the things that helps us embrace the cooler weather is my winter recipes’ folder. It’s full of recipes for nurturing soups, cozy pies, and other comfort foods that I can make with my kids. Not only is cooking together great for bonding, but all that cooking also keeps our kitchen warm and our bellies full of yummy, healthy food.
This is one of our favorite soups from my winter repertoire. In my family, this recipe is known as French soup for two reasons. For one, it uses pumpkin oil. From my semester in Paris, I learned that French people are especially enthusiastic about pumpkin oil. And two, French pumpkin soup is all the rage. I couldn’t sell my kids on the idea of a traditional French pumpkin soup (“It’s not Thanksgiving, mom“), but squash is acceptable in their books.
I use homemade chicken stock and home-cooked beans, but feel free to make it with store-bought organic stock and canned beans. Do add a few drops of pumpkin oil to a bowl of soup for extra flavor. If your local store doesn’t have it, Amazon carries an amazing French brand, La Tourangelle. Try it! And not just for cooking. I massage a few drops into my hands to keep them super soft all winter.
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Navy Beans, Squash, Apple Soup
(with Pumpkin Oil)
What to do
Ask your child to chop onions, garlic, and apples, while you peel and cut the squash.
Disclaimer: please, use common sense when cooking with your children. If your children have never used the knife don’t start with cutting apples. If they don’t know stove safety rules, don’t ask them to stir the soup.
1. (Adult) Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and salt. Sauté about 5 minutes.
3. (Child) Add squash, apples, and spices. (Adult) sauté for a few minutes stirring constantly.
5. (Adult) Add beans to the pot and keep cooking for about 5 more minutes until beans are heated through.
6. Using immersion blender puree soup until smooth.
7. Serve hot with extra pumpkin oil and a sprinkle of chili powder for extra heat.
If this recipe seems like too much work for a pot of soup, let me tell you another secret. This soup freezes exceptionally well. Any time you come home after a long day of being out in freezing temperatures, drop a bag of frozen soup into a pot (cut off the freezer bag with scissors), and by the time you change into your comfy clothes, you will have a cup of steaming, nourishing, homemade soup that tastes amazing and is healthy to boot.