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!