Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winter Squash Soup

Something about cold weather inspires cooking.  My go-to, feel-good, comfort winter food is squash.  You can make it a million different ways, it absorbs any flavor you throw at it, and it walks the spectrum of sweet to umami.  Having made a few squash soups, faced with an early Philly snow storm, and amazed at the dearth of people at Whole Foods, I thought I'd improvise a soup.

Here's what you'll need (as a meal for two or appetizers for four, can be doubled):
1 acorn squash
1 medium butternut squash
1 large shallot
1 medium yellow onion
Herbs (I used fresh rosemary and dried sage)
Kosher Salt
Olive oil
1 quart vegetable stock
Sour cream for garnish if desired

Start with my favorite part:  roasting the squash.  Quarter the acorn squash and halve the butternut, and try to minimize hand contact with the butternut.  Drizzle and rub olive oil over the wedges and sprinkle with kosher salt.  Roast in the oven at 375-400 degrees for about 40 minutes until caramelized.  Catch up on episodes of "The Good Wife."
Are you back yet?  Okay, let the squash cool while you dice the onion and shallot.  Dice whatever herbs you have; I used about two tablespoons fresh rosemary.  Prepare a stockpot with a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add the diced onion, shallot and herbs into the oil.  Saute until translucent.  Ponder the spelling of the word "translucent."
As this sautes, scoop out the flesh of the squash with a spoon; it should be that soft at this point and cool enough to handle.  Add the squash flesh to the onion mix and saute for about two minutes.  Then add the vegetable broth to your desired consistency -- I ended up adding about 2.5 cups for a fairly thick soup.  Finish in a blender or with an immersion blender to your desired texture.  I garnished with a little cream and garlic chives for the sake of the photo -- you don't need them (especially the garlic chives, which are, in fact, very garlic-y).  Add an artisan baguette and beer, and welcome in the cold.

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