Monday, November 12, 2012

Acorn Squash Soup

Smooth, tasty, hearty and thoroughly nutritious are just some of the ways to extol the virtues of a delicious, homemade Acorn Squash Soup.  One shouldn't pass up the opportunity to whip up a batch of this seasonal soup since it is so simple to make with just a handful of ingredients.  I've shown you how to perfectly roast these winter squashes in order to coax the full flavor from them, and it is these which serve as the foundation for a most savory fall dish. 

My preferred way to prepare this type of soup, which is not dissimilar to Butternut Squash, is by enhancing it with a few traditional ingredients and giving it just a hint of spice for a bit of depth.  I never want any one ingredient to overwhelm or dominate the flavor of the acorn squash, because it is too good to play a secondary role.  You can experiment with your favorite type of fresh herbs when making the soup, but be judicious about the amount you add so that you create a perfect balance of flavors.  My favorites for this soup include: thyme, sage, parsley, marjoram & chervil.

Acorn squash soup is perfect to eat on any given day as a first course or as a main course, and it is especially tasty if you provide a good quality artisanal bread to accompany each serving.  A delicious walnut bread from your favorite bakery slathered with the best butter would be out of this world with a bowl of my soup, but so would an olive bread that's been lightly toasted and drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil.  This soup is so good you may in fact want to include it in your Thanksgiving menu this year.  Serve it as a first course from a treasured tureen onto soup bowls and watch all of your guests enjoy every bit of it.  
Acorn Squash Soup

Acorn Squash Soup Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons {20 ml} extra virgin olive oil or unsalted butter
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled & diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon {1.25 ml} freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 2 cups {500 ml} chicken stock or vegetable stock

  • 2 cups {475 gm} acorn squash puree, from 2 whole roasted acorn squashes
  • 1/4 cup (62.5 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)
  • salt & pepper
Yield: 4 servings

Note: in the picture above I only show one whole acorn squash that's been roasted.  You will need 2 whole squashes to make the 2 cups of puree.  Puree the squashes until smooth before you begin this recipe.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the extra virgin olive oil (or butter) and saute the carrots, celery & onion until the vegetables just begin to soften.  About 5 minutes.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Add the ground ginger & nutmeg to the pot (this isn't a lot, but it's just enough to flavor it).  Stir to combine.

Add all of the minced parsley and mix well.  Now add the chicken stock (or vegetable stock) and bring the mixture up to a boil over high heat.  As soon as it does reach the boiling point, lower the heat to low, put the lid on the pot and simmer the vegetables for 15 minutes.

You can puree this soup in a food processor or a blender.  If you're using a blender, make sure you puree it in batches being careful not to fill it beyond the level recommended for hot liquids.  Have the squash puree at the ready.

I'm using a food processor here.  Add the acorn squash puree & the simmered vegetables along with all of the cooking liquid.  Process until everything is smooth and thick (30 seconds to one minute).

Not that you have to, but if you want an ultra-smooth soup I suggest you pass it through a fine mesh sieve back into the pot you used to cook the vegetables.  Eliminating this step gives you a more rustic style soup.  You decide!

If you're using the freshly squeezed orange juice, add it now.  Make sure you strain the juice before you add it to the soup.  Combine well.  Taste for seasoning and correct it with salt & pepper to taste.  The soup can now go back onto the stove to be simmered for just a few minutes over low heat. 

Note:  if you're making the soup a day ahead, let it cool completely after you've strained it and cover it well; refrigerate until serving time.  Add the orange juice right before you heat up the soup for your guests.


Acorn Squash Soup with fresh herbs served in a French porcelain soup bowl.


My Acorn Squash Soup should grace many of your tables this holiday season because it is so satisfying & enriching.  What I love about this soup, other than the incomparable flavor and nutritional benefits, is that it can be prepared in advance.  If you're entertaining a handful of guests or a score of them, it's a nice thing to have a dish or two made ahead of time.  My soup gives you the luxury of having it prepped a day ahead and leaving it to be reheated the moment you need it without any loss in flavor or texture.  Make a big batch of this soup by multiplying it by the amount of guests your expecting and have it at the ready the moment everyone arrives.  If you want to make each serving even more special, add generous dollops of creme fraiche or a few pieces of crumbled bacon for those who wish it.  Personally, I think it does just fine on its own with only a sprinkling of fresh herbs right before serving.  However you want to serve my Acorn Squash Soup, enjoy making it and savor every last spoonful. 

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