Saturday, October 29, 2022

Soup's On! Easy to Make Squash Soup Sets the Table for Cold Weather

My friend Harriet emailed me."’I'm supposed to bring butternut squash soup to a dinner Sunday. There are SOOO many different recipes, even on the New York Times. Do you happen to have a recipe you love and could share?" 

A few more exchanges and what she wanted became clear. She had already made a vegetable stock from an Otolenghi recipe. She needed to make soup for six people. 

Making soup is easy. Or, less-easy. Depending on some choices. 

Easiest-to-Make Squash Soup

Serves 4-6

Time to prepare: 45 minutes

Ingredients

1 medium sized squash (preferably kabocha or acorn or butternut), 2 pounds, washed, cut into 4 pieces, seeds and fuzzy stuff removed

6 cups homemade stock, vegetable or land animal

1 teaspoon Diamond Brand Kosher salt

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

The easiest way to make a squash soup (I prefer Kabocha because it has more flavor than most other squash, but that's a personal preference) is to cut the squash into four pieces. Remove the seeds and fuzzy stuff. Place in salted water (only use Diamond Brand Kosher salt because regular salt is iodized and adds a metallic flavor). Boil or steam (steaming is better so the flesh doesn't get water-logged) until the flesh is softened (5-10 minutes). Remove from the water, cool and cut off the skin (and discard).

Then heat the stock (which can be any stock you like, made from vegetables or land animals, your choice). Cut up the cooked squash. Add to the stock in the pot. 

Now you want to combine the squash with the liquid. The easiest way to do that is with an immersion or wand blender. KitchenAid makes a nice one, but other companies make very good ones. 


If you don't have an immersion blender, you should get one, but if there's no time, use a blender. In either case, you want to puree the pieces of cooked squash with the stock. That will take a minute or less.

Heat the soup. Taste and season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and your soup is guest-ready in less than 30 minutes.

That's the easy version.

The less-easy version adds one step. Not a big step. A little step.

To add flavor, add other vegetables, which you will first sauté with a little olive oil, if the soup is Vegan. If Vegetarian, in olive oil with a little sweet butter (unsalted).

So here are the details.

Less-Easy But Still Really Easy Squash Soup

Serves 4-6 (depending on whether the serving is appetizer or entree size)

Time to prepare: 15 minutes (prep), 30-50 minutes cooking


Ingredients

1 medium sized squash (preferably kabocha or acorn or butternut), 2 pounds, washed, cut into 4 pieces, seeds and fuzzy stuff removed

1 medium onion, washed, peel removed, cut into bite sized pieces

1 garlic, washed, peeled, cut into small bits (optional)

2 large kale leaves, washed, stems removed, cut into bite sized pieces

4 large mushrooms, preferably shiitake but brown mushrooms are good, wash, cut into bite sized pieces

1 large tomato, washed cut into bite sized pieces

6 cups homemade stock, vegetable or land animal

Sea salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon sweet (unsalted) butter (optional)

Directions 

There are two ways to cook the squash. Roasting or salt water steaming. Roasting is an added step but it also adds flavor.

If roasting, place the quartered squash onto a Silpat (non-stick) sheet in a baking sheet. Season with olive oil. Bake in a 350F oven for 20 minutes. Remove. Cool. Cut off the skin (and discard).

If salt water steaming, put 2 cups of water into the bottom of a small pot, season with 1 teaspoon Diamond Brand Kosher salt, bring to a boil, place the squash into a basket or small strainer so the squash sits above the boiling water. Cover and cook 10 minutes. Remove. Cool. Cut off the skin (and discard). If you don't have a basket or small strainer, place the cut up squash into the boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Remove. Cool. Cut off the skin (and discard).

Heat a pot large enough for the soup. Add olive oil and sweet butter (optional). Add vegetables. Stir together. Over a medium flame, sauté 10 minutes until the vegetables soften. If they lightly brown, that's ok.

Add stock and cooked squash.

Simmer 10 minutes.

Blend, either with an immersion blender or by transferring the stock into a blender, until all the vegetables are incorporated. The soup can be either completely smooth or still have bits of vegetables. Your choice.

Simmer 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You can add cream, if you want. Or a bit more sweet butter, if you want.

Serve hot with bread and butter.



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