Vegetable Soup With a Touch of the Golden State

"I'm new to California and thrilled with the fresh vegetables," Claire Bradley writes. "I love cream soups but can't afford the calories. This soup has the richness and texture of a cream soup from the pureed zucchini, but the health benefits of new California cooking. My friends love it. I made it up from what was on hand one lunchtime when I felt like having soup and was on a diet."


1 (14-ounce) can clear chicken broth

3 zucchini, sliced and chopped

1 tablespoon finely minced onion

1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 very thin slice ginger root, or to taste

Low-fat milk

1/2 cup finely sliced celery

5 or 6 mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup peas

1/3 cup chopped apple or pear

2 tablespoons raisins

Salt, pepper

Hot pepper sauce, optional

Combine chicken broth, zucchini, onion, garlic, curry and ginger root in saucepan. Cover and simmer until zucchini is very tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain broth into another pan. Remove ginger, if desired. Place drained zucchini mixture in blender with 1/4 cup low-fat milk. Blend until creamy-smooth.

Return broth to heat. Add celery and mushrooms and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Add peas, apple and raisins. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes longer. Pour in pureed zucchini and add another 1/4 cup (or to taste) low-fat milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add hot pepper sauce to taste. Makes about 3 1/4 cups.


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