The weather here has been downright stormy, blustery and rainy this week. It is definitely soup weather, and all I could think of today was a big pot of squash soup. I had a big acorn squash (a rather large one—easily the size of a small melon) and recently I learned, thanks to The Pioneer Woman's spaghetti squash recipe, that a squash does NOT have to be steamed or even cut up to be perfectly roasted. In fact, it’s so amazingly caramelized and delicious when leaving the whole squash intact while roasting it. Another bonus of this method is that you don’t have to risk life and limb hacking into a round, rolling, rock-hard squash with a kitchen knife.
I have seen and tried and perused a variety of squash soups, (this one for instance looks really good, too: Butternut Squash Soup with Sage) and thought I would experiment with some other spice-combinations. I kept it very simple with the ingredients so that I just let the savory squash do it’s own talking.
So here goes!
1 large acorn squash or 2 smaller ones – place squash in oven-safe baking dish at 425 degrees for about 45 to 1 hr, until it is easily pierced with a fork.
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 onion, finely diced
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 – 2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or veggie broth if you prefer)
1-2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg (more to taste)
1 tsp salt ( more to taste)
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
2+ cups water
2/3 – 3/4 cup cream
While the squash is roasting, finely dice the carrot and onion, and sautee it for a few minutes at the bottom of a large wide bottomed soup-pot. Add chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the pot when veggies start to soften a little. Cover with a lid to continue steaming at medium heat to soften the carrots up more. Allow to simmer on low heat if needed until the squash in the oven is done roasting.
When the squash was pierced by a fork easily, I used tongs and a knife on a cutting board to hold the hot squash so I could cut it it into halves, and then scoop out the seeds. After that I cut it into smaller segments, and peeled off the softened rind. If you don’t have good tongs, you could use an oven mitt to hold the hot gourd while you slice it open. Either way, don’t burn yourself while working.
Put the roasted squash into the pot with the chicken broth / carrot and onion. Now, add seasonings, and stir in.
If you have an immersion blender, use it now to puree the soup. However, my immersion blender recently broke, so I used the food processor instead, ladling a few scoops at a time into the bowl of my food processor, pulsing until smooth, and then pouring into another soup pot or bowl until all of it has been processed. Stir in extra water until the thickness is as desired, and bring heat up again, and when the soup is simmering again, add cream.
Top with crumbled feta cheese, and serve with a nice crusty bread.
PS. Sorry about the lack of pictures… but we all know how to chop onions and dice carrots, I think…
Jeanette - Off The Cuff
- Off The Cuff Cooking
- My name is Jeanette, and I was born in Sweden, but unlike the famous Muppet, I am not a professional Swedish Chef. I actually went to school for art, design, and photography. Beyond that, I worked as a freelance indie-rock critic for several magazines in the late 90s and early 2000s. I even took a crack at running a PR company for a while. However, cooking has always been in my DNA--my dad's brother was a chef and culinary arts instructor, my dad's father was a pastry chef, and my mom's mother was a caterer, and at the age of 92, she published a cookbook of traditional Finnish breads and pastries. Everyone else in my family loves to cook, too, and we're not afraid to experiment. Usually I end up inventing dishes (with or without outside inspiration) with whatever I have on hand, hence "Off the Cuff." I might make very Scandinavian dishes (meatballs, and salmon with dill-potatoes) or ethnic like Thai, Japanese, Mexican, Italian or Spanish. By the way, you can put bell peppers in almost all cuisine! (Drop me a line, at o f f t h e c u f f c o o k i n g "at" g m a i l followed by the dot-com. :)