You say zucchini, I say courgette

I was prompted to share this recipe by a little facebook conversation I had last week. The conversation was started by my friend who was resigning herself to making more zucchini brownies with the surplus squash she had. My sister then chimed in, telling her that my hubby had a great zucchini soup recipe. We bantered back and forth about creative ways to use up extra garden bounty, including playing zucchini baseball, and then I sent her the recipe. I hadn’t thought about this soup in a while since our squash met the same mildewy fate as our tomatoes this year. Not one zuke did we get, but it’s a great recipe for using up some of those zucchini bats you may be fortunate enough to have laying around your kitchen counters.
But before I give you ingredients, I must tell you that it is the hubby’s recipe- one of the few he learned how to make in his youth in France. And now, since it is a french recipe, and since I am tired of trying to remember how to spell zucchini, I will tell you a little story about his soup a la courgette.

One of these days, I will tell the full and harrowing tale of my Big, Fat, French/American wedding, but today I will just give a little snippet about our rehearsal dinner. The hubby- well, let’s call him the fiancé in this story, was determined to have a big French sit down dinner for our wedding reception, involving several courses and only inviting close family and friends. This idea wasn’t working out very well since we had already invited over five hundred people to the wedding.

I managed to convince him to settle for the rehearsal dinner being several courses and only inviting close family and friends instead of the reception. It all sounded great until we started counting up those close to us. By the time we had whittled down the list to the bare minimum, we were left with about 125 people. I come from a big family.
Well, we planned doggedly on, but the cost of food started to look alarmingly high when confronted with all those courses. We tweaked and retweaked the menu to fit the budget, when he suddenly remembered his soup a la courgette. It was the middle of summer, people had gardens, and surely everyone would have a few courgettes to share. He wasn’t wrong.

In retrospect, it was a bit of an insane idea, holding a multi-coursed rehearsal dinner for 125 people in my parents back yard the night before our huge wedding, but we were young. And the soup at least, was easy and cheap. The fiancé made it himself, in the biggest pot my parents owned. We had an army of young cousins who were volunteered by their mothers to be waiters.

The first hiccup came when the day turned out to be ridiculously cold for the middle of July. It wasn’t raining, but it was overcast and so chilly that when people started arriving that evening, we had to go hunting through the house for every available coat and sweater we could find. People started in on the appetizers, but the soup was the first real course, so we started serving it up in preparation. But as I mentioned, it was a cold night and much as my waitering cousins hurried, the soup was growing stone cold. This wasn’t a huge problem since the soup could be served hot or cold, so we continued on. It wasn’t long however, before we realized that we were going to fall short by quite a bit. It was too late to make more, so I ran to the fridge and pulled out some cream. At first we just added a bit to stretch it, but as there was no end in sight to 125 bowls, we just started dumping it in. The last ten bowls or so were pretty much just cream.
When the last of the soup was served, we finally sat down. It was only then that I realized the evening was not only chilly, but exceedingly windy. All the tables were set up in my parents backyard which is overshadowed by two large evergreen trees. The wonderful soup a la courgette had morphed into bowls of cold cream with pine needle garnish.

We had to throw away a lot of soup that night, but it really is a great recipe and so easy! So now I will finally share it with you. I can’t believe I had to buy courgettes in summertime, but I got green and yellow, just for fun. And the rest of the ingredients are pretty basic-

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Chop up two onions and about six cloves of garlic and start sautéing them in a bit of butter or oil until softened. If you are friends with me on facebook, you’ll know I bought 8 pounds of butter yesterday, so I went with butter tonight.

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While those are cooking, chop up your courgettes. As for amounts, I usually just fill up the pot if I can- they cook down a lot. Say goodbye to giant, counter-filling zukes!

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Cover the pot and let them cook at about medium for twenty minutes or so, stirring occasionally. While they cook, sit down and sew a couple of limbs onto a few dolls if you’re really trying to multi task.

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Once they are really soft, pour in enough chicken broth to cover the veggies.

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Then the secret ingredient- cream cheese! I usually just throw a whole 8 ounce box in, but all I had was a 12 ounce tub, so I used about two thirds of it.

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Add salt and pepper, and now it’s time to blend. The hubby enjoys pureed soup so much that he bought me this wonderful immersion blender years ago. I use it all the time, and it’s great for blending hot soups, but you can easily blend this in a couple of batches in any old blender.

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Just blend until smooth, adjust seasonings as you go and avoid stepping on your baby and his plastic cup castle.

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Serve hot (or cold, as the case may be) with a nice crusty bread. But try to avoid the pine needle garnish.

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6 thoughts on “You say zucchini, I say courgette

  1. I love this!!! Will def try!!! I’ve been addicted to stuffed zukes all summer with oil and garlic and basil and tomatoes and some gr beef. I just call it Zuchinni Crack.

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