Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Acorn Squash Soup

It's getting to be Autumn so time to break out the recipes that make use of the winter squashes and root vegetables. I saw a post online about a butternut squash soup that looked good but then wondered what approach James Peterson would take in his book Splendid Soups, which for me has been a real educational resource to learning how to make soups.

I think I might have actually made this recipe before due to the fact that it looked rather familiar once I started in on it and that the page was already stained (:-)). This turned out to be a fairly involved recipe but if you have the time, it's worth it. Also you better love garlic as it is a very prominent feature of the overall flavor and aroma of the soup.

This is pretty much the printed recipe except for the fact that I made my own vegetable stock for the broth rather than the chicken broth called for in the book.

3 acorn squash (3 pounds)
4 heads of garlic
2 red onions, peeled and halved (north to south)
3 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup olive oil
Several fresh thyme sprigs
4 cups vegetable stock
Black pepper

Preheat the over to 375 degrees.

Cut the squash crosswise in half and scoop out the seeds. I used a Chinese cleaver and even with that it took some effort so be careful as the squash tends to be pretty hard to cut. I also sliced the ends evenly so that the cut squash would sit level in the pan while roasting.

Break the garlic into cloves but don't peel yet. Toss the cut onions, carrots, and garlic in a bowl with the olive oil. 

Put them with the cut squash into a heavy roasting pan with the squash cut-side up.

Roast for about an hour and a half occasionally stirring the vegetables surrounding the squash in order to cook evenly. About 10 minutes before the end of cooking, add the thyme sprigs. When the squash is soft (easily penetrated with a knife), remove to cool.

Scoop out the flesh from the squash into a bowl and discard the peels. Remove the garlic flesh from their peels as well.
Combine the squash with the other vegetables then puree until smooth in a blender along with the vegetable stock in batches.
For me, this turned out to take a while as even with the broth each mix was pretty thick and I had to keep opening the blender to re-adjust it with a rubber spatula often during the processing of each batch.
As each batch is blended, add it to a food mill over another bowl to process further then resume until all of the vegetables and the broth are done. Once you've processed all of the vegetables and broth, add more broth if you would like a thinner consistency as you reheat it for serving. Season with salt and black pepper to taste prior to serving.

I added a little parsley as a garnish. Very tasty soup with a real autumn flavor!

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