November 22, 2011

Butternut Squash, Black Bean, and Red Wine Soup

So here's how my day went down:
I woke up this morning with a runny nose and stuffy sinuses. Not like a cold, but like allergies. This keeps happening to me, and I have finally decided what it is: I'm allergic to Vancouver.
I grew up in a really neat part of Southwest Portland, and then I moved to Corvallis for college, which is a really eclectic, fun little town... and now, I live in the suburbia of East Vancouver.
It's nothing against the people. They are all wonderful and kind. There are a lot of families here, which was one of the reasons we moved here originally. But, it just isn't us. We have been trying to make our escape for a while, but no success so far. And I feel like I need to get out.
Anyway, it was in this state of self-pity that I started my morning. Pretty pathetic, huh?

To cheer myself up, James and I went to our favorite coffee shop, where he downed with impressive speed a 6 oz 1/2 milk 1/2 chocolate milk. Then we delivered a hot coffee to Lane at work (or at least, outside at the gate, since we can't go in without a badge because we might be spies). Then we went to the grocery store (which is my favorite place in Vancouver, hands down).

At least, we tried to go to the grocery store.
I kind of forgot that it is two days before the biggest cooking day of the year, and that today is Senior Citizen Discount Tuesday at Chuck's. So, we circled the parking lot many times, but there were no spots to park. To make matters worse, I had to pee so bad. (Which is ironic, becuase I didn't order anything at my favorite coffee shop so that I wouldn't have to pee. I guess the two cups I had before we left the house didn't help.) Anyway, we ended up going home with no groceries. We had a pretty bare fridge at home. Ah ha! Time to get creative.

This morning, I had planned to make some sort of chicken noodle soup for dinner, but we had no chicken and very little noodles since I didn't go grocery shopping. I wanted to use some left-over squash, and also some left over oregano (I hate wasting herbs since they cost about five dollars an ounce). I grabbed a can of black beans from the pantry for protein. The rest just sort of came together as I went.

While the soup simmered on the stove, James and I waited for Lane to come home. We felt like we needed to put up something festive, so we hung some twinkle lights which, we decided, are not a Christmas decoration if they are white.

Lane came home and we enjoyed our warm, comforting soup under the soft glow of the twinkle lights.

It turns out, life in the 'Couv isn't really all that bad.

Squash, Black Bean, and Red Wine Soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 white onion, chopped
1 c broth
1 c water
2 c* butternut squash, roasted or steamed
1 15oz can black beans
1/4 c fresh oregano, stemmed (de-stemmed? un-stemmed?), plus more for garnish
1/2 c red wine

Pour olive oil in a dutch oven or large sauce pan, turn heat to medium-high. Add onions and garlic and saute until they are browning. Add broth and water, and turn down to a simmer.
Place cooked squash, black beans, and oregano in a food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Add the puree to the broth mixture, whisking until smooth.
Add the red wine, but don't let it get above a simmer so that you can preserve the flavor of the wine.
Serve hot with oregano leaves on top. Enjoy.
*That is, 2 cups before it is cooked, so it will cook down to more like 1 1/2 cups.

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