Sunday, November 1, 2015

Acorn Squash Soup

Recently, we joined a community supported agriculture program, also known as a CSA.  We get a box of fruit and vegetables every week.   This box presents a lot of challenges for me, given that my cooking tends to be more meat-centric than vegetable centric.  Therefore, I am using this CSA as a cooking challenge for me -- a CSA challenge -- to make dishes based on the fruits and vegetables that we get each week in our box.

Given the time of year, the box contains a lot of winter vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, and yams.  Over the past couple of weeks, the box has contained acorn squash.  That is one ingredient that, until recently, I had never prepared before. 

As I always do, I looked for a recipe.  I am quite familiar with butternut squash soup, because Clare has made that before and it was very tasty.  So, a soup seemed like a good start.  I reviewed a handful of acorn squash recipes before I came across one from Mario Batali.  The most appealing thing about this recipe is its simplicity.  A handful of ingredients, boiled together, blended together.  The result is a creamy, earthy soup with a lot of flavor from the nutmeg and a little kick from some crushed red pepper.

Not only have I not cooked with acorn squash, I don't believe that I had ever tasted it before.  However, I think I can say that I am very impressed with the taste of this soup.  Given how easy it is to make, and the availability of acorn squash during this time of year, I have a feeling that we will be eating a lot more of this soup over the coming weeks and months.

Recipe by Mario Batali
Serves 6

2 acorn squash (peeled, seeded and cut into large cubes)
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, sliced
Chile flakes, to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 cups of water
Chives, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Creme Fraiche 

1.  Saute the squash, onions and carrots.  In a large heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add about 4 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the squash, onions, carrots, chile flakes, nutmeg and season with a generous pinch of salt.  Cook for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and have broken down a bit and are soft. 

2.  Continue cooking.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.  Add the water and bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 15 to 20 minutes more.  

3.  Blend the soup.  Use a hand blender to blend the soup until smooth and creamy.  Adjust the seasoning.  

4.  Finish the dish.  Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil, a dollop of Creme Fraiche, and a sprinkle of chives. 


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