Once upon a time there was a nerdy guy who wanted to join the armed services. And no one would take him because he was a tiny little nerdy little guy. Then he got hooked up with some super crazy secret military project and got massively hot and buff and hot and became Captain America! And he still let his freak flag fly with that nerdy hat. Wings? Really? That's what the movie said anyway. My impression of him growing up was mostly, "Hey, that guy's name is Captain America. He's not as cool as Superman, but not as scary as the Hulk. I wonder if he dates Wonder Woman?" Yeah, now I know that would be a pretty hardcore Romeo and Juliet type story being from separate publishers and all, but I think we can all agree how awesome that would be.
When I first envisioned this soup, I thought I'd make the white ring with sour cream. However, one of my little nerdy guys has recently developed some stomach "things" and I've taken him off dairy of any kind for a while. So I made a turnip and cauliflower puree for the ring. It is fantastic, but if you'd like to save yourself some time and have a bit more of a dramatic look, I think sour cream is the way to go!
Captain America Red White and Blue Soup
5 C quartered Tomatoes (yield about 5 C tomato purée) (use peeled fresh or canned tomatoes)
4 C Turnips*
1/2 Cauliflower (about 3 Cups florets)
2 Cups sliced Leeks (white parts only)
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
Bread or White Cheese (mozzarella, white cheddar, muenster, or maybe even Swiss)
butter or margarine
milk (or milk alternative)
If you are using fresh tomatoes (6 or 7 pounds), the quickest way to peel them is to cut the core out, slice an X in the other end and broil them on a baking sheet with the X side up. You can broil them quickly till the skin peels off or keep them in a little longer until they are almost cooked. When the skin has started to pull back, take them out of the oven and allow them to cool enough to touch them. Peel them and quarter them. If you are using canned, I'd say two of those big 28 oz cans would probably get you pretty close. Maybe buy an extra small can just to be sure...
While you are broiling your tomatoes, set 1 pound of purple potatoes on to boil in their skins. Boil until potatoes are tender to the center when pierced with a fork. Drain and allow to cool until you can remove their skins. Make mashed potatoes with a little milk and butter, salt and pepper, making substitutions as your diet requires. You want the consistency to be smooth, but not gluey. These got gluey on me pretty quickly, so watch out. Set aside.
(BACK TO RED)
Place tomatoes in a large pot. Drain canned tomatoes, or for homemade tomatoes, don't add the extra juice that has cooked out. Heat tomatoes until boiling, salt and pepper as desired. Put in a blender or use an immersion blender until it has reached a smooth consistency. Set aside.
To make the white circle, steam cauliflower and turnips together until tender about 15-30 minutes. Cook the leeks in a frying pan with little olive oil until they have softened and browned slightly. Reserve some of the steaming liquid when vegetables are done. Place cauliflower, turnips, leeks, and garlic cloves into a pan and buzz with the immersion blender or give them a good spin in a blender or food processor. Use the reserved steaming liquid to thin it up as necessary. *If you're not a fan of the bitterness of turnips, you can use parsnips or even just the rest of the cauliflower head.
Cut cheese or bread into a star shape. I actually used one of the glow-in-the-dark stars from the kid's bedroom ceiling as a template since I didn't have a cutter small enough!
Pour tomato soup into the bowl. You can make the circles any order you want, but I made the blue one first to help find the center. I used plastic baggies with the tips cut out as piping bags. The thinner and more consistent you can make the purées the better this should work (all the more reason to use sour cream, really). Pipe the blue circle, then pipe the white circle, making sure to leave an outer ring of red showing. Place the star on the blue!
When all is said and done and the initial "oohing and ahhing" is over with, you may want to add another dollop or two of the potatoes to this soup once you've tucked into it. Additional crusty bread on the side is a nice touch, too! I served sourdough.
The boys knew who this was right away, though my youngest apparently thinks his name is "Captain American." They weren't terribly crazy about it. Particularly my picky one, but once we added a little more potato, my eldest decided it was darn near edible.