Thursday, February 10, 2011

Roasted Squash and Garlic Soup

My week has been filled with squash mishaps including burned butternut squash oven chips dusted with an Ethopian spice blend that induced coughing fits whenever I got near the package and a failed acorn squash topping for venison pie. It was tasty but had the appearance of shepherd’s pie topped with potato chips due to an aggressive mandoline treatment. I have settled on using my remaining squash for a foolproof soup.

Pureed soup is very forgiving, because you can adjust the ingredients to suit what you have on hand, whether it is more or less squash or other root vegetables, liquid (water, stock, milk or cream) or seasoning. Ideally, this would be the perfect starter for a delicious Mexican feast.

There is something appealingly civil about starting a meal with a cup of soup. Alas, I have no Mexican feast today, but it makes a tasty and filling lunch. The squash makes this soup super creamy while the roasted garlic brings sweetness aganist a background of savory cumin. If you like, punch it up by stirring in some arugula pesto and serving with buttered toast and a green salad on the side.

1 ½ pounds/680 grams butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ pound/226 grams acorn squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
One head of garlic
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
A few twists of sea salt
4 cups of reduced sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of sea salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, roast the chunks of squash and the unpeeled head of garlic for 40 minutes. Once tender, remove the squash and garlic from the oven. After cooling slightly, peel the garlic.

Add the garlic, squash, stock and cumin to a large pot. Puree the mixture with an immersion blender or in small batches in a food processor. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Reheat on the stove to infuse the cumin before serving.

Serves 4-6

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