winter squash and carrot soup
I told you I still have some winter squashes in my storage room, so here is another great soup I made with them and with carrots, of which I bought a bunch, greens and all, from the Temescal farmers' market in Oakland, a relatively small market that has interesting vendors and, most importantly, runs year-round.
I actually made this soup twice. The first time (photo above), I used a butternut squash, but did not weigh any of the ingredients, which is not a problem until you want to share the recipe. I liked the soup a lot, so it was easy to decide to make it again and do so with the scales ready. For the second rendition, I picked a different squash and should have photographed it before roasting it, because it was really a sight. Fortunately, I found a good image on this page, where its name is also given: Black Futsu. Don't let its rough surface intimidate you: Black Futsu squash has a flavorful flesh under those ribs.
The flesh is golden color and has the rich taste of hazelnuts... The black fruit will turn a rich chestnut color in storage. It is a particularly long keeper (up to 8 months). This heirloom variety originally from Japan has a high yield, a unique appearance and an uncommon flavor.
- a winter squash of your choice, yielding 2.5 lbs cooked squash
- 3/4 lb carrots
- 4-5 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- olive oil
- 6 oz. onion (cipolla), chopped
- 1 celery rib (leaves included, if present), chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin (possibly from freshly toasted and ground seeds)
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (chiodi digarofano)
- 3 cups homemade light chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 2.5-3 cups water, plus as needed to bring the soup to the desired consistency
- salt (sale) and freshly ground black pepper (pepe nero), to taste
Heat the oven to 375 F. Pierce the squash with a blade in a few places, place it on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat, and bake it for 15 minutes. This makes it easier to cut it in half. Let the squash cool slightly, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds (a grapefruit spoon is my preferred tool for this task). Put the garlic cloves into the cavity of one of the two squash halves and place both halves on the silicone baking mat, cut side down. (I learned to bake garlic with squash this way from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.) Put back in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, prepare the carrots. I don't peel them, but simply scrub them well, scrape off the thin skin with a knife, then rinse them. Cut carrots into 1/4"-thick slices and spray a bit of olive oil on them. Take the baking sheet with the squash out of the oven and distribute the carrots on it, if there is space. Otherwise, use another baking sheet, but try to bake all the vegetables at the same time, for energy efficiency's sake. Take the carrots out of the oven after 30 minutes. At that time, check the squash and, if necessary, bake it longer, until you can easily pierce it with a knife. Let the squash cool and then scrape the flesh off the skin, again using a grapefruit spoon. Peel the garlic cloves and set them aside.
Warm up some olive oil in a soup pot and add onion and celery. After 3-4 minutes, cover the pot and let the vegetables cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add cumin, smoked paprika and cloves to onion and celery, stir, then add squash, carrots, stock, and water to cover the vegetables. Cover the pot, bring to a boil and cook for 25 minutes. Add the garlic cloves, then purée with an immersion blender. Add more water, if needed, to make the soup reach the desired consistency. Adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
I have found that this soup profits from some rest, so I suggest you make it a few hours ahead, then reheat it. Serve with homemade bread and/or cheese crisps. The ones in the photo were made with my homemade Tilsit, which worked nicely.
To make the cheese crisps, heat the oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat. Take a tablespoon of grated cheese, like parmigiano-reggiano, and place it on the silicone baking mat. With a fingertip, spread cheese into a disk of about 3" diameter. Repeat a few times, making sure to leave at least one inch between the disks. Bake until the cheese melts, 3 to 4 minutes (check after 3 minutes and bake half or a minute longer, if necessary). Lift crisps delicately with a spatula and let cool. Serve with hot soup. I suggest establishing a per capita share in advance. In my experience, these crisps have a tendency to disappear faster than the speed of light.
As long as we are having one storm after another dumping rain on us, a hot soup is what I want for dinner.
This is my submission for the first edition of Creative Concoctions, an event created by Ivy of Kopiaste..to Greek Hospitality that will have two editions per month. This post contains the roundup of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the zuppa di zucca e carote audio file [mp3].
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