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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roasted Garlic Acorn Squash Soup

I have this weird thing where as soon as it rains my brain thinks "SOUP." I can only eat soup when its cold out, otherwise I avoid it completely but in the back of my mind I'm dreaming of when the weather will allow me to enjoy it again. Like I said, weird. I'm a huge fan of all types of textured soups, from broth-y kinds to smooth purees to super chunky one-pot meals. Last year I made an acorn squash soup and have been waiting to make it again, and this year I've really perfected this recipe. Acorn squash is a good winter vegetable (I know it's really a fruit, because it has seeds...) to cook with because unlike it's cousins the pumpkin and the butternut, it's less sweet and therefore works extremely well in savory dishes. 

This squash is so good roasted that we ate half of it without even pureeing it. Roasting the squash on its own is a delicious side dish and you could stop at that part of the recipe and still have a winner. If you're weird like me and have been waiting for soup all year, I recommend you finish the process to the end and really enjoy yourself.

Pureed soups have a depth of flavor but can be lacking in texture. Since food is a sensory experience, I find the toppings are very important and add a lot to the finished product. Have fun experimenting with different topping combinations! 

-10 cloves garlic, peeled
-1 acorn squash, washed and cut in half
-1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
-1 tablespoon ground ginger
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon pepper
-1 teaspoon curry powder
-1 teaspoon mustard powder
-1 teaspoon marjoram
-1 teaspoon cumin seeds
-cooking spray or 1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 teaspoon olive oil
-1 cup chopped red onion
-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
-1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
-1/2-1 cup whole milk

-shredded parmesan cheese
-fresh chopped parsley
-toasted pumpkin seeds (or another toasted nut)
-pomegranate seeds
-pesto or nut oil

Good enough to eat straight from the oven
To make
-Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
-Line a pan with foil and place acorn squash cut side up on the pan.
-Fill the squash cavities with garlic and evenlu sprinkle pumpkin pie spice, ground ginger, salt, pepper, curry powder, marjoram, mustard powder and cumin seeds all over the squash and garlic. Drizzle with oil or spray non-stick cooking spray over the seasoned squash.
-Place the pan in oven and roast for about 45-60 minutes, until the squash in tender and browned on the top.
-Heat a large pot on the stove and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook until soft and golden.
-Scoop out the acorn squash from its shell and place the squash and roasted garlic into the the pot.
-Add the broth to the pot. Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until smooth. (See * if you do not have an immersion blender)
-Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
-Stir in black sesame seeds and slowly add desired amount of milk. Using more milk will take away from the flavors of the spices.

*If you do not have an immersion blender, I recommend pureeing the squash and garlic with some of the broth and THEN adding it all together in a pot and bringing to a boil.

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