Looking for an easy lunch or dinner recipe? Squash soup is just the thing. And very flexible based on what you have in your pantry.
And a way to use my favorite tool that I never knew I had to have, the Immersion blender. (more on that later)
Working at Parley Lake Winery and Deardorff Orchards last fall, I was the lucky recipient of lots ‘o’ squash.
I squirreled them away for a rainy day, and lovingly took them out once a week over the past month to make a weekly squash soup.
The varieties of squash, and soup, are endless. The results? Magical! Delicious! Perfect on a cold winter day.
1 (or more) squash
1-2 T oil or butter
an onion – diced
Carrot, parsnip, or turnip (if you have them) – diced
minced garlic (one or two cloves) – if you feel like it
1 – 2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth or stock (or in a pinch you can use a boullion cube dissolved in water) – note: the more veg/squash you have, the more you will need.
1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine
splash of vinegar
Fresh or dried herbs (you choose! – I often use sage, thyme, oregano… or ginger, curry, tumeric if I want to have a brightly colored soup… or allspice, nutmeg, clove for a Middle eastern touch… it’s up to you!)
Salt & pepper to taste (use white pepper if you want to keep the soup purely the color of the squash)
1. Preheat the oven to 400. Cut your squash in half (from stem to ‘navel’) and scoop out the seeds. Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and bake (skin up) until the flesh is soft, about 45 minutes – less for smaller squash and more for larger, firmer squash.
To test for doneness, press on the thickest part of the squash with your thumb. If it gives, it’s done!
2. While the squash is cooking, heat the oil or butter over medium heat in a dutch oven. Add onion, and allow to lightly brown. Add garlic (if desired) and constantly stir for 30 seconds. Quickly add wine, increase heat to high until the wine boils, and immediately lower the heat to simmer the wine. You should smell a delicious steam of wine and aromatics. Continue to simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
Note: I LOVE using Parley Lake Brianna white wine for this recipe. It is semi-sweet, and as the old saying goes- “what grows together goes together.” Nothing like getting my wine and my squash from the same place!
3. Add 3/4 to 1 cup of broth/stock, bring your pot to a boil again over high heat, and then reduce the heat to low/simmer. Add your diced veggies (carrot, parsnip, turnip- if you have any) and cover the pot. Check in every once in awhile- the veggies need to soften. Stir occasionally.
4. When the squash is done in the oven, remove from the tray and allow to cool off until you can comfortably touch it. Remove the flesh from the outside skin with a spoon, and add to your dutch oven when the veggies are soft.
5. Add your seasonings… my favorite today is a Teaspoon of curry, pepper and salt to taste. Make sure to take small spoonfulls as you add your spice, and adjust until your mouth says “YES!” The first time you do this, go slow… it’s easy to add, and impossible to take away. I also like a splash of vinegar… white, white wine, or cider vinegar are exciting options. Taste, taste, taste til you like it.
6. Here is the best part. Plug in the immersion blender, submerge it in your warm soup that has soft but chunky veggies in it, and start that baby up. Soon you’ll have a smooth soup at just the right texture YOU want. If you want to add more stock to make the soup more ‘liquid-y’, now is the time to do it. Conversely, if the soup needs to firm up for your taste, keep it simmering until just the right amount of liquid has ‘steamed’ off.
7. Take a final spponful to taste your creation. Is it the right texture? The right flavor? Is it missing anything? If not, you are ready to eat!
I like to serve my soup with a slice of warm bread, and a garnish of fresh herbs on top to give it a bit of color. You can experiment with this and do what you like!
Enjoy your squash soup!!!