Thursday, October 25, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

It's unseasonably warm here.  We had an all-day rain earlier in the week which brought down a lot of colorful leaves.  It was followed by a warm and sunny day that dried out the leaves.  They are now dancing around town aided by the big winds that showed up yesterday.  Neighbors are trying to rake them into neat piles to no avail.  Children are enjoying boisterous romps!  It is a beautiful rite of autumn!

The time had come for me to stop basking in the glow of our new library and get back into the kitchen. That, coupled with my exuberant purchase of many fall and winter squash at our last farmers' market, led to this lovely soup for yesterday's dinner.  I wanted the dish to focus on the taste of acorn squash and kept the ingredients to a minimum.  The only difficult part to this soup was mustering the strength to cut the squash in half.  I finally had to yield and call in The Baker to assist!

The finished bowl was velvety smooth and enhanced by the slight crunch of the sauteed shallots.  It was delicious and I hope you'll give it a try.

Roasted Acorn Squash Soup

2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 large shallots, two chopped and one thinly sliced
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
Salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Line a baking sheet with foil.  Brush the acorn squash with one tbsp of the olive oil and roast, skin side down, for 35 to 40 minutes until soft and golden brown.  Cool enough to comfortably handle.
3.  In a large saucepan, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and saute the sliced shallot until golden brown.  Watch carefully as this will only take a few minutes.  Drain on paper towels and set aside.
4.  Using a large spoon, scoop out the squash and place into the saucepan along with the chopped shallots and the chicken stock.  Simmer, over low heat, until the shallots are very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
5.  Using an immersion blender, process until completely smooth.  You can also use a regular blender or food processor.
6.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and add salt and pepper to taste.  Heat through and add the cream.
7.  Top with the crisped sliced shallots.