Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mexican Style Winter Squash Soup

I mentioned before that I love making pureed soups with winter squash. I think October should be dubbed National Winter Squash Soup month. This one is sort of inspired by the traditional flavors of tortilla soup. You can use any style of winter squash (although maybe not spaghetti squash) for this soup, I used a big blue hubbard.

There are several options for this soup, I'm providing the simplest option in the recipe. However, if you wanted this soup to be chunkier you could saute the poblano peppers in a separate pan and then add them to the soup after it has been pureed along with some black beans and corn. You could also toss some thinly sliced corn tortillas with a little olive oil and chile powder and bake them for about 10-15 minutes once the squash is done roasting and use them as a garnish.

Home Decor Maven
I've recently realized there's an extra bonus to making a lot of squash soups in the fall and winter. I love art, but I can't like interior decorating, seasonal decor or setabouts. But by default your house does look kind of festive if you've got a lot of beautiful squashes sitting around on your kitchen counter, plus rather than dusting them you can eat them!

About 5 lb. winter squash (such as blue hubbard, kuri pumpkin, butternut, buttercup, etc.), peeled and cut into 1" dice
4-5 cloves garlic with the peel left on and about 1/4" cut off of the top to expose the cloves (or see my instructions for roasting a whole head of garlic - Roasted Garlic)
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
2 large poblano peppers, diced
2 tsp. chile powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika (or sweet)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 large tomatoes, pureed in a blender or diced (or 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes)
4-5 c. vegetable broth
Juice of 1 lime
Cilantro to garnish (as much as you want)

1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the ends off of your squash so that it can be stood on end, and use a large sharp knife to slice the skin off of the squash.

2) Once the skin is removed, cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds, then slice the squash into strips and cut into 1" diced pieces. Cut the tips off of your garlic cloves and wrap them in some foil with a little drizzle of olive oil.

3) Place the diced squash into a large baking dish and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Then place the foil packet of garlic into the baking dish with the squash and place another sheet of foil over the baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour.

4) As the squash bakes you can dice the onion, carrots, and peppers and measure out your spices.

5) When the squash is almost finished baking, heat a little olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat and add the onion, carrots and peppers. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes.

6) When the vegetables are softened add the squash and the roasted garlic (use the tip of the knife to pull the garlic cloves out from the paper into your soup pot. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook, mostly covered, for 20 minutes.

7) Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a bit, then puree with an immersion blender. Squeeze in the juice of 1 fresh lime and stir to incorporate. If you wanted to add beans or corn you could do so after it has been pureed and then just turn the heat back on and let it cook for a few minutes longer to heat through.

This makes about 6-8 servings. 

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