August 24th, 2010

Cousin Cathy’s Summer Soup


Too hot for soup?

Think again—it’s really just as hot eating sauced pastas, or grilled kebabs, fluffy omelets, or stir-frys. In a way, soup is lighter, less of a commitment. And yet, it can still soothe, still satisfy.

Like this soup that my cousin cooked up one evening during her visit.

It highlights the golden bounty of summer, with a couple of surprising twists: like the counterpoint of jalapeno heat and nutmeg spice. Oh, yeah.

It has a very adaptable nature, too. Cousin Cathy got her inspiration from a Jane Brody recipe that features zucchini, corn, chicken broth. On occasion, she has replaced the corn with hominy, with favorable results. While at my house, we made a few other substitutions that created a marvelous, complex layering of flavors–with minimal effort.


This year, my garden zucchini crop was a curious, abysmal failure–beautiful plants that bore almost no fruit–but my “straight-eights” produced aplenty, an easy ingredient swap. A soup with sweet yellow squash paired with farmer’s market peaches-and-cream corn roasted on the grill….


…became anchored in an earthy wash of mushroom broth. Another surprise!

In deference to the vegetarian in the house, we opted out of using chicken broth. Cathy didn’t want the inherent sweetness you find in some vegetable stocks—a little “carrot forward” she correctly thought. I had a container of organic mushroom broth in my pantry, how about using this?


Once she sauteed the onion in butter, Cathy poured in our mushroomy brown liquid–the color is not the most visually appealing, but its aroma is pleasant, almost musty, with hints of garlic. (and, that color mellows out, when you add the milk.)

The squash, corn, jalapenos all simmered briefly, imparting their good flavors, while retaining their integrity.

As I typically saute my veggies before adding the broth–caramelizing them somewhat, for deeper flavor—I was surprised, and pleased by this simpler method. It kept the texture and bite of the soup right.

A Heads-Up: The garnishing is not just for show—it plays in key role in the soup’s success. Especially the nutmeg. If you have–or can get–whole nutmeg, and grate it over the soup just before serving, you’ll be astounded by what a compelling top note of spice it brings to the mix.

Overall, you’ll find intriguing tastes at play, arrived at in quick-time. Perfect for waking up a sleepy palate in the waning summer heat.


COUSIN CATHY’S ROASTED CORN-SUMMER SQUASH SOUP adapted from Jane Brody’s Good Food Cookbook

1 small Onion, diced
1 1/2 t. Butter
2 c. Mushroom Broth
2 c. Yellow Squash, diced
2 c. Roasted Corn Kernels
2 T. chopped Jalapenos or Green Chiles
1 c. lowfat Milk
2 oz. Monterey Jack Cheese, shredded
Chopped Italian Flatleaf Parsley for garnish
Fresh grated Nutmeg for garnish

Saute onion in butter until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Stir in broth, squash, corn, and chilis. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to just under a boil, reduce heat, cover pan and cook until squash is tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in milk and heat until hot, not boiling.

Pour into bowls, and sprinkle with cheese and parsley, and fresh grated nutmeg.

Serves 4


Posted in Recipes, Soups/Stews, Vegetables

19 Responses to “Cousin Cathy’s Summer Soup”
  1. Cristie Says:

    What a wonderful garden soup! I can’t wait to give this a try. I do think most of the ingredients are just waiting outside my door. Thank you :)

  2. Juliana Says:

    Yummie, love the way you add a lot of veggies in this soup…looks really yummie and it sure makes a great meal :-)

  3. Christine @ Fresh Local and Best Says:

    It’s too bad about the zucchini. I can never figure out why some plants don’t fruit certain years. I have to agree with Cathy on the carrot forward veggie broths, it can be a real distraction. This is a great creation, I like the touch of nutmeg.

  4. Denise | Chez Danisse Says:

    I’m all over this soup. Love the jalapeno and fresh grated nutmeg. Very nice work ladies.

  5. Faith Says:

    I completely agree about soup in the summer! I think it’s a delicious way to use up some of summer’s bounty. The soup looks incredible and I love the nutmeg garnish!

  6. Michele Napoli Says:

    This soup sounds delicious. I grew up eating soup every week without fail in winter and summer! And Jane Brody–she was my guru in the ’80’s. May be time to revist her books for some inspiration ; )

  7. Cathy Says:

    Nancy, I loved seeing your interpretation of this soup. I am curious about peaches-and-cream corn–maybe I need to make another summer trip to Nashville! The favored variety here in Maryland is silver queen.

  8. Maggie Says:

    Nancy, I know this is good soup! Very similar to my own squash soup that I came up with during a summer of too much yellow squash. It’s never too hot for soup!!

  9. Tracy Says:

    I wish for a huge bowl right now. Just beautiful. Sounds so summer good. I really think you need to write a cookbook…

  10. Kath Says:

    This soup sounds delicious and I love that peaches and cream corn, I have never seen that before.

  11. Fluffy Says:

    Nancy the peaches and cream corn is my favorite, love this soup, summertime or anytime.

  12. FOODESSA Says:

    Our peaches and cream corn is just perfect lately.

    Usually, I’m too busy raking my teeth all over the cob…never enough to set some kernals aside for another recipe. I guess, I’ll have to buy a little extra this weekend…because this soup has too many healthy and tasty ingredients. I would like to take a spoon to it right now ;o)

    As usual Nancy…you got my appetite going!

    Ciao for now and have a fabulous week.

  13. Barbara Says:

    I love this recipe Nancy! Marvelous flavors. All those good ingredients and the best corn is here too!

  14. gg Says:

    Oh yeah, love it! Your photography is splendid. I collected all the same ingredients yesterday, and I thought about a corn chowder–so I loved seeing this today!
    BTW, do you have any suggestions for an October birthday cake? Have a great week…

  15., Teresa Blackburn Says:

    I actually love hot soup in the summer, especially if it is corn based. This year the corn has been quite good so I am making this recipe soon while the good, sweet local corn in plentiful. Thanks for the idea.

  16. rachel Says:

    You don’t need to convince me about hot soup and pasta in summer! Great soup, I like the combination of flavours, actually, I’ve just been reading about grating nutmeg over buttery corn. Your sweetcorn looks fantastic by the way, Corn is terribly disappointing here in Rome so I have all but given up. But in case I do find some, this recipe is noted. Cousin kath, you are a star, we’re expecting more from you please!

  17. Tammy Says:

    I can eat soup at any time and this one – well, it would work great. Our squash season has passed and I’m into the think of eggplant.

  18. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thanks, all, for the many nice comments! Cousin Cathy will have to come to Nashville and cook again!

    Cathy-we get good silver queen corn here too, and another variety called “triple sweet” that has been very popular. I like the look of peaches and cream, too.

    Tracy–you make me smile

    gg-re:October birthday cake–perhaps something with pears and walnuts??

    Tammy-it’s true! I’ve seen all manner of beautiful eggplants at the market,will have to make some good dishes with them soon.

  19. FOODESSA Says:

    I just came back to tell you quickly how I had a chance to make a mini version of this soup with a small twist of my own. It turned out to be a real hit with myself and Hubby! A keeper to try again.
    Thanks for nudging me to put these two great ingredients together ;o)

    Ciao for now,

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