The first time I made squash soup, I acted as if I had already made it so many times before that it was as second nature as walking my dog(s).
Tom and I had arrived back home in Alaska for Thanksgiving that year. It was the same year my brother, Scott and his wife Christine, announced they were pregnant with our soonish to be niece, Catherine (who, by the way, has recently started a master’s program at Trinity College in Dublin).
None of us knew that at the time then, of course.
We were so young.
Somewhere between childhood scrawniness and adulthood, I had gone from the sugar-loving, vegetable-loathing, picky eater that I was, to the mad about everything, food-loving, “best Italian chef” in Seattle. Ok, so mom has a way of, er, exaggerating.
So, I feel an explanation might be in order?
I am not the “best Italian chef” in most places I suspect, but I’m pretty good, and I do live in Seattle.
The “Best Italian Chef” part, was the way my Mom introduced me to a crowded room at the Captain Cook Hotel in Anchorage, during her 50th birthday party. Yikes, what the heck?
I have possibly been trying to live up to that tittle ever since.
What does this have to do with squash soup you ask? I will tell you.
Mom loved/loves squash soup and asked me to make it for the aforementioned Thanksgiving dinner as a starter.
Well, at least she didn’t ask me to participate in the making of the main course, because next up was the Thanksgiving menagerie whose highlighted poultry venture was none other than “Turduken” (the seasonal star of the time period).
The soup, by the way, turned out great. The Turduken…uh, no comment.
Enough said on that piece (pieces?) of poultry.
Back to the soup.
Tom and I traveled from SEA to ANC that year, in tow with our dog Buffy, three winter coats, one large suitcase containing our shared clothing and one medium sized case that hauled a thick stack of magazines from Bon Appettite and Gourmet.
I had never even made (actual) soup prior to this, so in my inevitable style, I made the task much more complicated than it needed to be. After pouring over the magazines into the wee hours of the morning, hoping to become enlightened as to the perfect formula for squash soup, I fell asleep. When I woke up, I decided to just wing it.
I combined everything I had read into three pans, several mixing bowls and one pot. The one pot of soup probably made more of a mess in the kitchen then the rest of the meal combined.
If only I knew then what I know now, I could have cleaned a lot less dishes.
Naw….I would have still made the same mess.
DELICATA SQUASH + CARROT + BEET SOUP
This can be made in under an hour. Even less if the squash and the beets have already been cooked. A microwave can be used to speed up the process for the vegetables, a trick that I recently discovered on Chef Steps. For this recipe, I used some previously roasted squash and beets, but did cook the carrots and leeks using the microwave method.
If you don’t have a Vitamix, you can use another blender or food processor; you will just need to simmer it on the stove after it has been blended.
2 medium delicata squash – cut into 1″ thick rings, with seeds and pulp removed
1 medium to large beet – scrubbed clean
3 medium, full-size carrots – scrubbed clean and cut into 1″ long pieces
1 medium leek – cleaned, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup plain, good-quality yogurt
1/4 cup sherry (brandy will also work just as nicely)
The juice of one small lemon
1 tsp good-quality curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp salt and add more as needed)
- Cook the squash by putting it on a sheet pan with enough water to cover the bottom. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook until tender at 350-degrees F (for approximately 20 minutes). Alternately, you can microwave them in a bowl covered tightly in plastic wrap for approximately 3 minutes, or until tender.
- Cook the beet by roasting it in a 400-degree F oven wrapped in foil until tender (approximately 1 hour if cooking 3-4 at a time; less time if cooked alone). Alternately, you can boil in salted water until tender (approximately 20-30 minutes).
- Cook the carrots and leek by putting in a bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap and microwave until tender (approximately 3-4 minutes). Be careful to remove plastic wrap cautiously so as not to burn yourself with the hot steam that will escape.
- Remove the skin from the beet by rubbing it away with a paper towel. Cut it into 1″ cubed chunks.
- Put all the veg + the chicken stock into a Vitamix, blender or food processor and blend. If using a Vitamix, set it to the soup setting which will go until it is silky and hot! I love that feature!
- Add the yogurt, sherry, lemon juice, curry powder and season with salt and pepper. Do another quick blend.
- Adjust seasoning to taste and voila! Done! (FYI, if you don’t have a Vitamix, simply add to a stock pot and simmer to heat and concentrate the flavors.
There are so many options and I am all out of dishes, so go forth and be creative!
Laura Bender said:
Great story!…as usual!…and love the Winston pics! I have a great recipe for pumpkin soup…way simpler, but so tasty! The squash soup looks yummy!
Stacey Bender said:
Thanks! This one is so simple that I barely knew I was cooking since the squash and beets were already leftovers in my fridge.
Tom loved it as a sauce served with halibut…you know how he usually feels about squash?
Lois Casto said:
I recently made a kabocha squash/leek tart. Eager to try your squash soup, too. Winston sure has filled out since his initial picture. Good food and loving family have made his day!
Stacey Bender said:
Oh how I love a good tart (and I’m not talking about Zoe)! I especially love a savory tart with leeks. Lucky Bill.
Linda Brown said:
This is an intreresting combination; I’ve not used beets with squash in soup. Great fall dish. Thanks for posting it. And best wishes with a happy Winston! Lucky dog.
Stacey Bender said:
I hadn’t thought of it before either but there sat a lonely beet in my fridge, asking to join the soup. This time last year, Winston was recovering from abdominal surgery. He thinks this year is much better.
Christine Edwards said:
I am so making this – I laughed out loud when you mentioned the Turducken. That was one heck of a meal! I love the idea of using this as a base for a filet of halibut. Oh, if only a plate were before me as I write this… I still have white beets in the garden…Winston gives this blog a certain elegance – just saying. xo.
Stacey Bender said:
You so should! Yes, the Turducken was one for the books, heh, heh! Your garden is my envy; we are making it our mission to grow better things this next year. Mr. Winston appreciates your compliment and says you should see him in his pajamas.