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First Taste of Fall: Winter Squash Soup and Roasted Squash Seeds

September 12, 2011

I don’t know where the summer went, but it seems fall is nearly upon us. Starbucks already re released their Pumpkin Spice Latte. (I am happy to report my fall drink, Caramel Apple Spice, is available all year round. Y’know, for when I need some fall in the middle of May…I’ll ignore the fact it is on the kids menu.) The back to school sales are over. Best of all, our CSA is starting to deliver us fall veggies!

I always kind of like when I get things in my box that I’m not used to eating or preparing. It definitely challenges my cooking skills and taste buds. This week we got an acorn squash and a red kuri squash. Roommate was scared of dealing with them, so I took the reins and made Smitten Kitchen’s Winter Squash Soup (with gruyere croutons).  I really like Deb’s recipes, and her style of cooking, because I feel empowered to improvise a little bit. A lot of times I am missing something she suggests, and I give the ingredients I have a go. Most times it works out for the best, as with this soup!

Wrong kind of squash! Missing spices! The WORLD’S LARGEST GARLIC CLOVES from the farm! No sticks of butter in the freezer! Everything seemed to go wrong that could, but I used the squash on hand, halved the garlic, and dug butter out of Roommate’s spreadable container. I don’t like cumin a lot, so I halved that. After a slow-as-molasses soup-making last week – a complaint post about which is imminent – I’m not a big thyme fan, so I just added a dash. And after peering around the pantry I decided to add three dashes of cinnamon.

Also, we didn’t have any Gruyere (We’re savages, I know), so I used leftover Asiago for the croutons, which turned out to be the tastiest things this side of the Mississippi. Seriously, the soup was good. But the croutons? Amazing.

Winter Squash Soup and Asiago Cheese Croutons

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Soup Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 giant garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth
  • 2 medium winter squash (butternut, acorn, red kuri, etc.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 shakes cinnamon
  • 1 shake dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
Soup directions:
Cut squashes in half, remove seeds, and coat with olive oil. Roast at 425º until pulp removes easily, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile melt butter in large pot, then add garlic and onion. Saute until tender, over medium heat, about 10 minutes. When squash is done, scoop out pulp and discard skin.
Add broth, squash, and spices to the pot, and bring to a boil. Simmer for a few minutes, then begin pureeing soup in small amounts in blender. (Be careful to hold the blender lid down tightly. I ended up with hot orange goo all over my counter.) Return to pot. Add cream and simmer.
Crouton Ingredients:
  • lots of 1/4″ thick baguette slices, make sure your bread is crusty (I used club rolls, which was the only thing left at the bakery)
  • stick of butter
  • asiago cheese
Place bread slices on a cookie sheet and put a small slivery pad of butter on each one. Broil in oven until butter melts. (Deb says a minute, but my oven was faster. Be careful they don’t burn!) Remove from over and flip each bread over. Put another small pad of butter on each one and top each with asiago cheese. Return to broiler until cheese is melted, about a minute or so. Serve alongside soup.

Squash Soup

My next project is getting prettier bowls/plates to take pictures with. I have the weirdest hodgepodge of dishes! I originally intended to make roasted squash seeds, but I forgot, and Roommate put the raw seeds in a tupperware. I continued to eat them that way until I gave myself a stomachache. Maybe I’ll actually make some with this week’s pumpkin seeds?

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