Mollie Katzen’s “gypsy soup” caught my eye for its name and name alone. The word gypsy is so evocative of something rustic, hearty, romantic and a bit tragic. I didn’t even look at the ingredients list before I decided I would make it. (This impulsiveness will likely get me into trouble someday.) According to the recipe, gypsy soup can be varied by subbing in various green and orange vegetables for the ones listed. (Incidentally, if anyone knows why this is, let me know. I became really curious about gypsy soup and did some research, and can’t find anything.) I decided on an autumnal riff on gypsy soup: acorn squash provided the orange, and some great kales and mustards that are happily growing in the cool November weather brought the green.(Once I was taking pictures in the garden, I had to snap some of the collards which are still goin’ strong. I have enough to make two more of these, probably.) The soup lives up to its evocative name, except maybe the “tragic” part. This is peasant food at its best; sort of a south-of-Spain minestrone. Paprika-kissed and sunny with turmeric, this is one I’ll be glad to be pulling out of my freezer in January.
Yields 1-2 bowls for now, plus enough to freeze in a big gallon freezer bag for later.
You will need
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 medium yellow onions, chopped coarsely
6 stalks celery, chopped
8 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 acorn squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
4 carrots, sliced into thin coins
28 ounces canned, diced tomatoes, drained
50 ounces soaked chickpeas (canned is fine)
6 cups liquid (Mollie Katzen’s recipe calls for water; I used half vegetable broth and half water)
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons turmeric
4 teaspoons mild paprika
1 bay leaf
Dash of cayenne
1 pound greens (I used a mixture of kale and mustard greens), trimmed and, if large, cut into 2-inch-wide pieces
Asiago cheese for topping (or another hard, salty cheese)
- In your biggest pot, heat the olive oil. Sauté the onions, garlic, and celery until aromatic and beginning to soften. Add squash and carrots and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, broth/water, salt, turmeric paprika, bay leaf, and cayenne. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rapid simmer, stirring occasionally until chickpeas and squash are tender. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, cayenne, or paprika as necessary. Reduce to a low simmer. Stir in greens, allowing to wilt before removing soup from heat.
Serve with a good dusting of asiago cheese.
To freeze soup, allow to cool completely. Ladle into gallon-size freezer bags. Seal, smoothing out any air pockets, and lay flat in the freezer to store.