Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Roasted Delicata Squash Soup

Although we've yet to have more than a few flurries of snow here in Madison, winter is definitely here (with the exception of one bizarre afternoon this week where it was 64 and thunderstorming). Few foods are more comforting in winter than soup. You can make soup out of pretty much anything, it's often largely hands-off, and you can make mass quantities with minimal effort, and like pizza and paninis, which I frequently experiment with, it's nearly infinitely customizable so I absolutely adore it.

I got three different kinds of squash in my CSA last week-delicata, acorn, and butternut; delicata is by far the one I have the least experience eating and cooking. But I do know is that squash is always good roasted, and I love a creamy squash soup (like Butternut Squash Bisque). I lightened up the original recipe, using whole milk instead of heavy cream, as I intended this dish to be a main dish. If serving this dish as a first course cream or half-and-half would be very appropriate and to make it even more special, add a few crumbled bacon bits to the top as a final garnish. Even in the more everyday form I present here, this soup is extremely creamy and satisfying and a welcome meal when coming home on a cold winter evening.

Roasted Delicata Squash Soup
adapted from Food and Wine
serves 4 

Three approximately 1-pound delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons salted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small onion, chopped
3 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
1 1/3 cups whole milk
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream (optional)

 1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Set the squash, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with canola oil cooking spray. Roast the squash for 25 to 30 minutes, or until tender.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Scrape the flesh out of the squash and add it to the saucepan along with the stock and milk. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by one-fourth, about 20 minutes.

3. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. (Alternatively, blend in batches using a blender or food processor). Pass through a fine sieve or chinoise, if desired. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and top with crème fraîche or sour cream, if desired. Serve warm with a salad and piece of crusty bread.

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