Friday, November 06, 2009

"Soups On" and It's Two Squash Soup

We had a light rain today, which is actually a fine thing since we get most of our moisture during fall and winter rains. I worked this morning to cover for my job share mate. She is flying home today after spending a couple of weeks in the Denver area, most of the time in the hospital where her son was fighting for his life. He is a brave and valiant young man, 30 years old, and was successful (along with lots of antibiotics and excellent hospital personnel) in beating back the pneumonia and lung infections. Lots of people were praying for him and sending good thoughts, so it is wonderful news that he is now home from the hospital! I was happy to cover her hours while she was gone so that she wouldn't worry about work, but it will be nice to have some time next week so I can get ready for expected family visitors. We might even have some of this soup since I made a double batch!

A while back I made a wonderful butternut squash soup and I've made it since but there were no changes, so I didn't post about it.

Today there were two kinds of squash to play with so I pulled out the old recipe and re-worked it a bit.

This soup uses both the butternut and pumpkin squashes, but you could substitute your favorite winter squash or even add it. I'll probably make this later in the winter with some acorn or Hubbard squash for variety.

If you are careful when you puree this you can have a soup that has some very smooth and some slightly less smooth pieces for a wonderful mouth feel.

Because there is also sweet potato and a tart apple as part of the soup there is a little bit of sweet and sour by-play going on. Since the squash are baked this time, there is some carmelization going on there, too, plus a bit with the onion at the beginning of the recipe. That's why I like to add extra black pepper and/or red pepper for bite and some plain yogurt or sour cream as a garnish for tang. The red pepper dice adds crunch, some a few extra vitamins, plus a punch of pretty color.

This soup is perfect for a rainy night like tonight, or could grace your Thanksgiving table with ease. Cooking the soup early and letting it sit overnight for the flavors to mellow makes it perfect for the busy holiday season. Just re-heat the soup when you are ready to serve it.

Two Squash Soup
Serves 4-6

1 average-sized butternut squash
1 medium-sized pumpkin
I medium onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium to large sweet potato
1 large Golden Delicious Apple
1 large Granny Smith Apple
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
½ cup skim milk
½ cup fat-free buttermilk
½ teaspoon dried ginger powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon crushed red chili flakes
fresh ground pepper to taste (I used a LOT - gave it a nice kick)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Sour cream and small dice of red bell pepper for garnish

1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and stringy parts. Cut the pumpkin in half or in chunks, and remove the seeds and stringy parts. Place all of these, cut side down, on a foil or silicon mat lined rimmed baking sheet and cook in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash is cooked through. Let cool enough to handle and remove the skin from all pieces. Discard the skin and set the squash and pumpkin meat aside.

2. Peel onion and cut into ¼" chunks. Set aside. Peel squash, potato and apples and cut into ¼ “chunks. Re: Squash - I found it easier to first cut it into large pieces and then cut the skin from the pieces, then chop into chunks.

3. Over medium heat in a large saucepan/stock pot, heat 1 tablespoon oil and stir onion and garlic until tender.

4. Add chicken stock, potato, apple, and seasoning. Give it a good stir, reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender. Remove from heat.

5. Add the cooked squash and pumpkin, cut into cubes, to the stock mixture. Heat through on medium-low heat.

6. In a blender (or with an immersion blender), scoop about 1/3 of the mixture into blender. On low speed, blend until nicely pureed. While doing this, add about ¼ cup of milk and ¼ cup of buttermilk until creamy. Transfer this to a bowl or a 2nd pot.

7. Repeat step 6, adding another ¼ cup of milk and ¼ cup buttermilk and transfer to bowl or pot; continue until all soup has been creamed. (Alternatively, you can puree the soup with the stock being the only liquid, then stir in the skim milk and buttermilk once all the pureed soup is back in the soup pot.)

8. Put soup back in the pot and put on low heat, stirring to blend, and adding lots of black pepper...yum! Simmer for 15 minutes and taste soup. Adjust seasonings and, if desired, add maple syrup. Simmer another 5 minutes.

9. To serve immediately, heat to serving temp, spoon into bowls and add a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt if so desired then sprinkle with about a teaspoon of red pepper dice. Otherwise, you can chill it to serve cold or to reheat later. Can also be frozen, probably up to six months. If you have time to cook this ahead, the flavors really combine well when the soup is chilled overnight and reheated just before serving.

5 comments :

DaviMack said...

Sounds awesome! Our favorite is Kabocha squash, and to make something like this with curry powder in it, and coconut milk. Yum! Rich, savory, soothing ... delicious!

Andreas said...

Soup season is finally upon us. :)

stephanie said...

Hi Pat-
Tis sparkleplenty here.

Thanks so much for your delicious two squash soup and bread and wonderful stories. I'm so glad to have finally met you.

Here's that quiche recipe (I used swiss cheese):

www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/caramelized-onion-mushroom-and-gruyere-quiche-with-oat-crust-recipe/index.html

Stephanie said...

here's an outstanding food section to peruse:
http://www.tampabay.com/features/food/

Rose&Thorn said...

In South Africa we eat lots of butternut - I love butter soup! Delish!