1.26.2011

Squash Soup

The other night I brought this soup to a "chicks only" cocktail party at a friend's home. I decided on soup because, well, it's January and what better lifts mood and body temperature than a dollop of hot and savory goodness? Yes, this took me longer to prepare than a bag of chips and jar of salsa, but the result was well worth it.

As guests charged the pot to snag a ladelful, I wondered, why is it so uplifting to feed others good tasting homemade fare? Perhaps the delight on people's faces boosts my ego. Or maybe it's a female thing. To those who enjoyed, does it matter?

Recipe

Sister-in-law Amy shared this recipe with me from her Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special Cookbook. She roasts the squash, onion, and garlic together as the original recipe instructs but I like to chop and saute those ingredients instead. I'm not sure which way is tastier, easier or creates less mess. If you hate chopping, roasting the vegetables first might be the way to go. Just leave yourself a lot of time.

I omitted the sizzling sage, which I found to be kind of pain, and instead added dried sage. I also halved the amount of olive oil.

In a large pot heat over medium heat, until hot:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Add and saute 5-10 minutes until translucent:
  • 2 large yellow onions, cut into 1 inch pieces

Add and stir about a minute, until fragrant:
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced

Add and stir for a minute or two, just to combine:
  • 40 ounces (doesn't need to be exact) cut up squash from the produce section, cut into 1 inch cubes*

 Stir in:
  • 1 cup no sugar added apple juice*
  • 2 cups low-fat chicken broth*
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • ground black pepper, to taste

Bring soup to a boil then turn heat down and simmer 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until squash is soft enough to smash with a fork.

Puree with an immersion blender* (remove pot from heat when you do this) or let soup cool a few minutes and puree in a regular blender in small batches. Make soup as thin or thick as you want. If it gets too thick add more liquid.

Taste and adjust seasonings.

**Extra! Extra!**
  • I find cutting squash too time consuming and scary, but if you are skilled and willing, go ahead and buy a few whole ones. You'll need about 3 pounds worth.
  • You can play with the amount and types of liquid. Vegetable broth instead of chicken? Sure. More apple juice? Yes. But keep in mind more apple juice means a sweeter soup. Also, keep extra liquid on hand to thin out soup later, if need be.
  • Using an immersion blender can be fun, but take a minute or two to read the instruction manual so you don't end up with soup all over your kitchen and up your nose. Trust me on this one.