About this Blog

As I go into my second year blogging about cooking and eating locally, I am thinking more and more about my own heritage. Why is cooking and eating locally sourced food important to me? What values am I honoring by doing this and how were these values instilled in me.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Soup for a Snowy Day

Around 5:30 am on Tuesday morning,  I awoke to the sound of the telephone ringing.  It was a robo call from the public school announcing a snow day.  At first I rolled over and went back to sleep for another hour and then I got up and went down to our living room to watch the snow fall outside the window.

I love snow days...even though we've now had three in the space of 10 days.  Perhaps I feel this way because I no longer have to commute to work, but even back when I worked at a full-time job outside the home, I still appreciated the kind of full stop a good snow storm can provide.

As I sat enjoying the cascade of snowflakes falling outside the window, I thought about how I would now need to rearrange my plans for the day and the week.  Part of this was to decide what I would make for lunch and dinner since my son would be home and I would have additional kids to feed.  (I  provide back-up care for working mother's in my neighborhood.)  Fortunately, my freezer is still pretty well stocked with food I had preserved this summer and fall.  For lunch, I pulled out a sauce with meatballs and for dinner, squash soup.

The squash soup recipe I use and have adapted over the years comes from Dr. Andrew Weil and was published in an article in Body and Soul Magazine now Whole Living Magazine at least three or four years ago (unfortunately the issue date is not on the page of the magazine I tore out and keep in my three ring binder of magazine recipes).  This soup is one of my son's favorites.  I like the creamy texture of the soup which requires no dairy as well as the sweet, savory, spicy flavor that is so warming on a cold day. 

I have included the original recipe below though I confess that I no longer follow it.  I always use butternut squash as I find it is the easiest to peel and to get the most uniform chunks.  I tend to use whatever apples I have on hand.  This summer there were plenty of Macoun and Macs, so I believe one of these varieties is what ended up in the soup.  In addition to chili powder, I have added both dried basil and marjoram to batches I have made.  From time to time, I have added ground cumin seed which I think balances the sharp heat of chili powder with a more subtle, smokey warmth.  I also generally add cinnamon, another warming spice, that compliments the sweetness of the apples and squash. 

This year I was very fortunate to be able to make this soup using only ingredients (other than the cumin and cinnamon) which I received from our CSA.  By the time we were getting squash in our weekly share, I was making batches of vegetable broth in an effort not to waste the abundance of veggies we were receiving and unable to consume quickly enough.  Instead of chili powder, I roasted fresh chili peppers along with the squash, onions, garlic and apples.  I also included heirloom basil...the kind we received was a purplish color rather than the typical green. 

Roasted Winter Squash and Apple Soup

1 large winter squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), such as butternut, buttercup, or kabocha, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tart, firm apples (such as Macoun or Granny Smith), peeled quartered and cored
2 tablespoons olive oil
Course salt
Mild to medium chili powder
3 1/2 to 4 cups vegetable broth

Preheat over to 400 degrees F.
In a large roasting pan, combine the squash, onions, garlic, apples, and oil; toss to coat.  Generously season with salt and chili powder.  Roast, stirring every 10 minutes, until the vegetables are fork-tender and lightly browned, about 45 minutes.
In a food processor, combine half the vegetables and half the broth; puree until smooth, and transfer to a medium saucepan.  Repeat with the remaining vegetables and broth.  Heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally and adding more broth if soup is too thick, until heated through.  Season with salt and additional chili powder, if necessary.  Serve immediately.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of my favorite soups. I am going to try making this one since it does not have the dairy in it. The Cottage Cafe makes a wonderful one but dairy is used and I have noticed that it bothers my stomach. This has not stopped me from ordering it when I am there, or eating it when Holly brings it home for me. I actually was able to convince Matthew to try it and he liked it a lot as well. Sometimes at the cafe, they do a pumpkin soup as well, which may or may not contain the squash. Thanks for sharing the recipe!