Sunday, October 4, 2009

Using Fall's Gem, Acorn Squash, For An Easy Spiced Soup

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the cooler weather and the produce that the season brings: squash, apples, and root veggies. In my produce delivery shipment last week, I received two acorn squash, which immediately inspired me to make soup. My strongest craving during my pregnancy has been soup, so that wasn't a surprise, really!

Acorn squash has a dark green hard skin and tastes best roasted to deepen it's naturally nutty and peppery flavor. Acorn squash is high in fiber, vitamins A, C and potassium. This variety gets overshadowed by the popular butternut squash. Because of its size it's ideal for stuffing with raisins, apples, and turkey sausage and spices.

To cook, try roasting:
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Use a sturdy, heavy knife to cut the squash vertically. With a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and membrane. Do not peel the hard skin.
  • Place on a cookie sheet face up and coat with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  • Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until fork tender.
  • Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Then with a paring knife, peel the skin gently from the flesh.
Making the quick soup: (roast the squash ahead of time and store for quick weeknight meals)

  • 1 tbs butter
  • Roasted acorn squash (2 medium)
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 3 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup lowfat milk or half and half
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp curry
  • Dash nutmeg
  • Place roasted squash in the food processor (use two medium squash).
  • In a soup pot, melt butter on medium. Add chopped onions and minced garlic and cook until translucent (2 minutes). Add onion and garlic mixture to the food processor.
  • Add 2 cups of chicken broth to the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  • Add squash mixture to the soup pot and return to heat. Add remaining chicken broth, milk, and spices and warm on medium for 10 minutes.
**If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more chicken broth.

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