Saturday, December 1, 2012

Squash Soup with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

I have finally found THE squash soup! I have been searching high and low for a squash soup that I really enjoy.  I have made several over the years that just were bland and boring and I did not care to ever make them again.  I think I love this soup so much because It's not just the typical squash and broth.  The carrots, sweet potato and apple really add to the flavor and it's just lovely.  Although pepitas are delicious and my favorite garnish, you could also garnish with a little pureed chipotle in adobo, creme fraiche, smoked cheese or even some fresh parsley or cilantro.

Squash Soup with Carrots and Sweet Potatoes
olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 pounds hard winter squash/pumpkin, peeled and chopped (I used 2 sugar pumpkins)*
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 crisp apple, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of ground cinnamon
salt and pepper
4 cups chicken/veggie stock
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. lemon or orange juice
In a large stock pot, drizzle a good amount of olive oil (2-3 Tbsp.) and heat over medium-high heat.  Add onion, squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add apple, garlic and ginger, as well as the cumin, paprika, nutmeg and cinnamon.  Cook for about a minute or so.  Add chicken or veggie stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer until very tender. 

Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. You can also puree in batches in a blender or food processor.  Check for seasonings and add salt/pepper and honey to your liking.  Squeeze a bit of fresh lemon or orange juice in the soup right at the very end.

Serve warm and garnish as desired:
1-2 tsp. chipotle in adobo (pureed)
creme fraiche
pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)**
smoked cheddar or other smoked cheese
chopped cilantro or parsley

*Sometimes it is difficult to peel hard winter squash.  Alternately, you can split the squash/pumpkin in half, remove seeds and bake on cookie sheet, cut side down, until tender.  Allow to cool slightly and scrape out flesh from skin.  Add to soup near the end when ready to puree.

**To toast pumpkin seeds, make sure you have the green ones to begin with.  Add a tiny bit of olive oil to a small skillet, a handful of seeds and a pinch of salt.  Toast over medium heat, gently moving them around to prevent burning, until they start popping and turning golden.

SOURCE: Lightly adapted from Rachael Ray

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