Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sweet Meat Squash

This is a Sweet Meat Squash that I grew in my garden this summer. It's about the same diameter of a basketball--quite a bit of squash in there! There's about 4 more that size still in my garden.
I tasted a delicious squash soup last year made with butternut and so I googled it and found a few recipes to play with. Since sweet meat can be substituted, (a lot of fleshy orange squashes can be interchanged in recipes) I adapted the recipe below to my variety of squash and my family's tastes. Click here to visit the web page where I found the recipe for the main inspiration of this soup.


The flavors of this soup were divine! I love the extra creamy texture that you get by blending the ingredients. I think it might've tasted better the second day--or else I was really hungry! My one year old baby gobbled up his first bowl and wanted more.


Don't get frightened off by the length of the recipe, this soup is really easy to make! I froze my leftover roasted squash and I used it to make Squash Stuffed Ravioli--delish!

Roasted Sweet Meat Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced onion
  • 1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced celery
  • 1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced carrot
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 4 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Winter Squash recipe
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half, optional

Directions

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and cinnamon and saute until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash until smooth, then simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.
Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. (The soup can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for about 1 month. It will thicken as it cools and may need thinning with stock or water when reheating.)
Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Add the half-and-half, if using. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm until service.
*Once you add the half-and-half, don't boil as it breaks down the consistency.

Roasted Winter Squash:

  • About 3 pounds squash (preferably 1 large squash), can use Sweet Meat, Butternut, Banana
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Halve lengthwise, discard the seeds, then cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter ceases to foam and has turned a light brown, pull the pan off the heat and immediately add the sage, sugar, vinegar (stand back so as not to get splattered), molasses and toasted spice rub. Mix well and let simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to meld the flavors.
Pour the vinegar mixture over the squash and toss well, then transfer to a heavy rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast, tossing at least once, until very tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm, so the liquids are runny.
Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the warm squash and all the cooking liquids to a food processor and process until smooth. Use immediately, refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Serving suggestions: Serve the puree on its own as a side dish for roast chicken, turkey, or pork; stir into polenta just before the end of cooking; use as a stuffing for ravioli; make into a soup; or use to flavor pastina. Or omit the sage, season with ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to taste, and use as a substitute for canned pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.
Place on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and roast at 400 degrees F until tender. Scoop out and puree.
Yield: about 2 cups puree


Try it out--I dare you! Let me know if you like it. Remember, you can substitute most orange, fleshy squash for this recipe. Just use whatever you have on hand.
Enjoy!