24 November 2009

winter squash and root gingered soup or if you think i have a squash fetish you would be right

Last night I felt my stride once again in the kitchen (it's been gone for a while) when I created this soup in honor of my mom and dad's arrival for Thanksgiving, which brought me an unexpectedly exuberant feeling of joy during a dark few weeks of life.  

I had only a butternut and a blue hubbard left from the Farmer's Market (now closed for the season, but opening for a single holiday market on Friday, so I can hopefully procure more squash) and decided to make them into a soup.  The farmer who sold me the blue hubbard told me they were best combined with other root vegetables because they were too mild to stand on their own.  After tasting them, I'm not sure I agree with her, but I'd already started the carrots and roasted the butternut squash, so I went ahead with my plan to combine a variety of squash and vegetables.  I suppose you could leave the tomatoes out, but I like the balance of the acid brings to the sweetness of the squash ( I sometimes find butternut soup cloying).  This soup is quite easy even though you need to plan on roasting time for the squash--you can use that time to make a salad, set the table and get everything else ready for the soup:

Winter Squash and Root Gingered Soup

½ stick unsalted butter

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

6 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated

1 small butternut squash, roasted

1 small blue hubbard squash, roasted

1 32 oz. can whole tomatoes

2 quarts chicken stock

1 quart water

1 t. cumin

¼ t. cayenne

1 t. (or  more, to taste, if you like it spicy) sriracha

½ pint heavy cream 

1.     Wash and pierce squash and roast whole in a 375 oven.  Cool slightly, seed, and scoop out flesh.

2.     While squash is roasting, peel and chop and then sauté onions and carrots on medium low in butter.  Grate ginger into onions and carrots and continue cooking.  This amount of ginger gives a very subtle background note, so if you really dig a gingery soup, add another inch or two of root.

3.     Combine stock, water, tomatoes (and juice), cumin, and cayenne.  Let soup simmer for 10-15 minutes.

4.     Purée soup until smooth.  Heat soup through then finish with cream and a teaspoon of sriracha. 

I I I went all out and put on a table cloth, dim lighting (my best solution for bad wall paper and a non-spotless house), lit candles, etc.  Mom and Dad, Pat and Bonnie and all the kids save Eva were there. I didn't photograph the soup because the moment was too good and I didn't want to leave it.  In a moment, one single moment, my depression lifted and was completely gone.  Almost twenty-four hours later, I still feel great.  What happened?  It feels miraculous, or maybe my soup is medicinal. 

P.S.--My mom said I should enter my soup in a recipe contest.  That was pretty much the highlight of my cooking life, coming from my cooking idol herself.




Patricia said...


Writermama said...

This post makes me happy.

Geo said...

Hm. I'm also a great fan of squash. I wonder how this recipe would work with some homegrown spook pumpkins (the white ghosty kind). Hmmmmm.