A few weeks ago, I went to one of the most enjoyable dinner parties I've ever attended. My friends,
and Katie, host an occasional international
dinner for family and friends. They pick a country and create a menu featuring
its native dishes.
What made this dinner party a bit different from the norm was the guests all joined in to help prepare the meal! We gathered together in the kitchen and divided up the recipes according to our culinary skills. The camaraderie was wonderful as we all worked on our particular dishes while chatting about food and life. Then we settled into the dining room to enjoy our efforts.
On this particular night, the theme was
No, kangaroo meat wasn't on the menu, but there was a wonderful meat pie and a
spinach recipe appropriately named “Spinach Like You've Never Had.” (It was delicious!.) Vegemite was used in a
baked cheese pinwheel so everyone could give this traditional Aussie product a
try, and I mixed up damper bread, which is similar to Irish soda bread and
traditionally made over a camp fire. (I want to try this recipe again—I wasn't
happy with the results, even though everyone else seemed to like it.)
The recipe that stayed with me long after the meal was over was the potato-zucchini soup. To be honest, I’m not certain just how Australian this soup is, but it's delicious. (Aussie readers, please comment!) It reminds me of my favorite potato-leek soup recipe from Julia Child.
The recipe is easy to make and quick enough for a weeknight meal. Just add some bread, and you’ll be all set!
Australian Potato-Zucchini Soup
This recipe is adapted from one found on the Australian AllRecipes website. It calls for the use of bouillon cubes and water, but you could certainly substitute chicken or vegetable stock instead. Also, the original recipe said to puree the soup before serving, but I like a more rustic dish. So I only peeled half the zucchini, and then I used a potato masher to smash some of the potato and zucchini.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 to 3 cups diced zucchini, half peeled and half left with the skin
3 chicken bouillon cubes
2 1/2 to 3 cups water
1/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and saute to soften. Add the zucchini andsaute to soften slightly, and then add the potatoes. Next pour in the water to cover and add the bouillon cubes. Bring up to a boil, and then reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Mash the mixture with a potato masher, leaving some of the potatoes and zucchini whole. Add the cream and salt and pepper. Serve.