Monday, January 18, 2010

Creamy Winter Squash & Carrot Soup

I used one of the large green squash from last week's CSA. Was it a Kombucha?

First, I cooked the squash. I scrubbed the outside of it, then cut it in half and scraped the seeds out. I cut each half into four sections and laid them out onto two cookie sheets, skin side up. They overlapped a little bit. I covered the squash with foil and baked at 300 degrees for about an hour and a half. Halfway through, I moved the bottom cookie sheet to the top rack and the top one to the bottom rack. I baked the squash until it was tender when pressed (I used a potholder to press through the foil). I let the squash cool on the baking sheets, then scraped the squash out of the skin. I ended up with four 1-quart containers of cooked squash, which smelled and tasted like pumpkin. Two quarts went into the freezer for later use; two went into the fridge.

Here's the recipe for the soup:

3 large carrots, sliced lengthwise into fourths, then cut into 1/2" chunks
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried thyme or two fresh thyme sprigs
olive oil
1 quart cooked winter squash
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup half and half
fresh nutmeg (ground is OK but fresh has stronger flavor)

Heat 2-3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed medium sauce pan. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and thyme and saute until the carrots start to get tender. Don't let the garlic brown.

Stir in he squash and cook another couple minutes. It's OK if the squash is chunky at this point. Add the chicken stock and turn the heat up until the mixture comes to a boil. Turn back down to medium and add cinnamon, salt, pepper and brown sugar. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the carrots are tender, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

Puree using a hand blender, or you can put it into a stand blender to smooth it out. Return to the pan and keep hot over low heat. Just before serving, stir in the half and half. Serve immediately and garnish with a sprinkling of fresh ground nutmeg.

Remove the pan from the heat after adding the half and half. This soup can be reheated on the stove over medium-low heat. Stir often while reheating and bring to steaming but not to a boil.

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