I don't remember if I have mentioned this before, but I have been attending some of the free Cooking Technique Sessions conducted by the Williams Sonoma stores. These sessions are held on Sunday mornings and are really interesting. The first one I attended was focused on fall squashes. The lady doing the demo had brought 6 different varieties of squashes and she cooked a few of them for us. One of the squashes she cooked was the acorn squash. She cut it in half, spread some butter and brown sugar on the inside, placed it upside down on a cookie sheet and baked it for about 30 minutes. What came out was a nicely caramelized, gorgeous looking thing, which was very yummy too.
The other squashes (butternut, kabocha, sugar pie, etc., were roasted with some olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. They tasted awesome too.
Coming to the soup, I roasted the acorn squash (with peel) in the oven, scooped out the flesh and then made the soup. This can be done with any other squash that is available.
Chopped onions – ¾ cup
Mashed squash – ¾ cup
Water – 2 cups + more
Milk/cream – 2-3 tbsps
Finely chopped garlic – 1-2 cloves
Chili powder to taste
Turmeric – ¼ tsp
Thyme (or any herb of choice) – 1 tbsp
Olive oil/Cooking oil – 2-3 tbsps + more for brushing on the squash
Preheat oven to 350O F. Wash and cut the squash, remove the seeds and pulp, brush with a little oil, sprinkle sat and chili powder and place upside down on a cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Let the squash cool a bit before you handle it. Using a spoon, scoop out the cooked flesh and mash well.
In a saucepan, sauté onion in 2-3 tbsps of oil. Once they turn slightly translucent, add the garlic and sauté for couple of minutes. Add the mashed squash, salt, chili, turmeric and herbs. Mix well. Add the 2 cups of water and let it simmer. Add more water if you want. Also, you can blend this mixture if you prefer smoother soup. I personally liked the slightly coarse texture.
Add the milk/cream just before serving.
Butter – 1 tbsp
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Bread – 2 slices
Mint/Rosemary/or any herb of choice – 1 tbsp
I used regular whole wheat bread, but you could use any bread like a baguette, sour dough etc. In a pan, heat oil and butter on medium heat. Add the herbs and heat it for a minute. Add the chopped bread and toss to coat. Reduce the heat, and let it get crunchy (about 10-15 minutes). Keep tossing to ensure even crunchiness. Add a few croutons to your soup and enjoy. Bon Appétit.
Note: For an added crunch you can also add toasted pumpkin/squash seeds. To make those, wash dry the seeds. On a cookie sheet toss the seeds with some olive oil, salt, and chili powder. Roast in the oven at 350OF until they are crunchy (about 30-40 minutes). These make a nice afternoon snack.