Monday, November 2, 2009
Winter is peeking out from behind the flimsy veil of fall. The leaf litter on Seattle's sidewalks has already turned from the golden and flame-color of autumn nostalgia to the brownish rot of rain-soaked foot falls. My sweaters and scarves are no longer in waiting, and I hear the hum of the heater behind me as I type.
With this change of seasons comes the craving for warm foods. Steamy things that make my oven glow and my insides toasty. No better way to break through the chill and make things cozy than to fill up a bowl and my belly with delicious, homemade soup.
I acquired an acorn squash a couple of weeks ago. It sat lonely on my counter, its green shell tempting me with promises of the sweet orange flesh inside. I needed some inspiration and motivation to create something tasty with that lonely squash. What I needed was a lunch guest. The lovely Iris graced my company for a Sunday afternoon feast.
This is how you can make your own friends happy with delicious soup.
Acorn Squash Soup with Toasted Walnuts
1 large acorn squash, cut into quarters
1/4 C. raw walnut halves
2 medium carrots, diced
1/2 C. onion, chopped
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 C. vegetable broth
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Cut the squash into quarters and place cut side down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for 35 - 45 minutes, until soft.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring, about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them! Transfer them to a small bowl, and set aside.
While the squash is still roasting, saute the onion and carrot in olive oil over medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft.
When the squash is done, remove it from the oven, and allow to cool slightly. Scrape the flesh into the bowl of your food processor, and discard the skins. Add the onions and carrots, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne and 1/4 tsp. salt to the food processor. Puree until the mixture is smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
Heat 1 C. of veg broth in a pot over medium-low heat, and transfer the squash mixture to the pot. Stir well and allow to heat for 8-10 minutes.
Taste the soup at this point and season it again with salt and/or any of the other spices used (I ended up adding another dash of both nutmeg and ginger). If the soup seems too thick, add more broth until the desired consistency is reached. Stir well and heat for several minutes more.
Divide into bowls and serve hot garnished with toasted walnuts.
I hope this brings a little warmth to your table. Enjoy.