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Published November 04, 2009, 12:00 AM

ONLINE EXTRA — SCRUMPTIOUS SQUASH RECIPES: Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons . . . Creamy Winter Squash Soup . . . Baked Winter Squash Soup, etc.

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons

¼ cup (½ stick) butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

3 14½-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth

4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled butternut squash (about 1½ pounds)

4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled acorn squash (about 1½ pounds)

1¼ teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1¼ teaspoons minced fresh sage

¼ cup whipping cream

2 teaspoons sugar

CROUTONS:

2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter

24 ¼-inch-thick baguette bread slices

1 cup grated Gruyere cheese

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and sugar; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made one day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

For croutons:

Preheat broiler. Butter 1 side of each bread slice. Arrange bread, buttered side up, on bak-ing sheet. Broil until golden, about 1 minute. Turn over. Sprinkle cheese, then thyme and sage over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.

Yield: Serves 8.

Creamy Winter Squash Soup

2 medium (1 ½ pounds each) butternut squash

4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 cups canned or fresh pumpkin puree

½ cup honey

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups heavy cream, light cream or whole milk

Optional garnish:

Croutons

Creme fraiche

Peel the squash; cut into chunks. Place in a soup pot. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer squash and some chicken broth to bowl of a food processor; puree until smooth.

Return squash puree to soup pot. Add pumpkin puree, honey, ginger, cardamom, allspice, salt and pepper. Heat, stirring until smooth and heated through. Add heavy cream and stir until blended. If desired, garnish soup with creme fraiche and croutons.

Yield: Serves 8.

Baked Winter Squash Soup

2 acorn squash (about 2 pounds each)

2 butternut squash (ditto)

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 teaspoon dark brown sugar

3 carrots, peeled and halved

1 large onion, thinly sliced

10 cups chicken stock

¾ teaspoon ground mace

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

Creme fraiche for garnish

Snipped fresh chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Place squash halves in roasting pan. Place 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar in cavity of each squash half. Arrange carrots and onion slices around the squash. Pour 2 cups of the stock in the pan, cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 2 hours.

Remove pan from oven and allow vegetables to cool slightly. Scoop squash pulp out of skins and place in a soup pot. Add carrots onions and cooking liquid. Add remaining 8 cups chicken stock and mace, ginger, cayenne, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Puree the soup in batches in blender or food processor until smooth. Return it to the pot, adjust the seasonings, and heat through. Serve each portion garnished with a dollop of creme fraiche (below) and sprinkling of chives.

Split Pea and Winter Squash Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

4 teaspoons curry powder (mild)

9 cups water

1½ cups winter squash, cubed

2 cups yellow split peas

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon tomato paste

Spray a large soup pot with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and celery and saute 7 to 8 minutes. Lower the heat, then stir in the garlic and saute for 30 more seconds.

Add the oil, then stir in the curry powder and gently saute for 30 seconds.

Add the water, squash, split peas, bay leaf and salt. Bring to a near boil, then lower the heat.

Partially cover the pot, then simmer for about 1 hour. Cook until the split peas are com-pletely tender and falling apart. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Puree soup in batches using a food processor, blender, or immersion blender.

Put pureed soup back on the stove over low heat and stir in the sugar and tomato paste. Add salt if necessary.

Simmer five minutes more, then serve with lemon wedges if desired.

Yield: Serves 8.

Winter Squash Soup with Dill

1½ cups cooked, mashed winter squash (from 1½ pounds acorn, butternut or Hubbard squash)

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons light margarine

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 cups of 99 percent fat-free chicken broth

¼ cup skim milk

1 teaspoon dill

½ teaspoon thyme leaves

Dash nutmeg

To cook squash, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds and strings with a spoon. Place it in a shallow baking pan with 1 inch of water and bake for about 45 minutes, until soft. When soft, scoop flesh from skin and mash with a fork or potato masher.

In a medium saucepan, saute onion with margarine. Add flour when onions soften. Slowly add chicken broth a few ounces at a time, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil. Lower heat and gradually stir in milk and mashed squash. Add seasonings. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Yield: Serves 4.

Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 113 calories, 15 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol 508 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Winter Squash Soup with Roasted Seeds

1 small acorn squash

1 medium butternut squash

1 medium red apple

2 cans or about 2 cups of your favorite vegetable or chicken broth

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 bay leaves

Kosher salt

Parsley for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut both squashes in half scrapping out and saving the seeds.

Core the apple. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the squash flesh side down, place the apple and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

While the squash is baking, clean the pulp from the seeds, rinse them and allow them to dry on a paper towel.

Remove the squash from the oven and let cool for a few minutes.

While the squash is cooling line another cookie sheet with aluminum, foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the seeds out and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until toasted.

While the seeds are toasting, add the squash, spices and broth to the blender. You are go-ing to have to do about 3 “batches” as it’s a lot of soup.

Start with the spices, half the acorn and butternut squash, keep adding broth until well blended and spices are all grinded. Then pour about half out into a pot over low heat, add more squash and blend with additional broth. Keep repeating this process until you are out of squash and both. When finished, mix well in the pot.

Continue to simmer until ready to serve

Place two ladlefuls, about 1 cup in a bowl and sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of the toasted seeds and a pinch of dried parsley.

Yield: Serves 8.

Acorn Squash Soup with Corned Beef and Walnuts Recipe

1 ½ pound lean corned beef

3 quarts water

2 pounds acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

Black peppercorns

Nutmeg

Mace

Bay Leaf

Juniper Berries

Cloves

4 ounces prepared horseradish

2 quarts corned beef broth (cooking water)

1½ cups heavy cream

Salt

Pepper

6 ounces walnuts, shelled and toasted

4 tablespoons chives, snipped

Cook the corned beef with water and seasonings until tender. Remove from the broth; trim fat from meat and cut into small cubes. De-fat the broth. Add the squash. Cook until tender. Cool. Use a food processor to puree the squash until smooth.

Add the cream and horseradish to the squash puree. Season to taste. Add the cubed corned beef. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and chives immediately before serving.

Yield: Serves 12.

Curried Winter Squash Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh ginger (grated from root or use commercially chopped ginger from a jar

1 cup mirin wine or sweet white wine or cooking sherry

2 pounds winter squash, peeled and diced (butternut or acorn or pumpkin)

2 cups vegetable stock

1½ cups (or can) coconut milk

1 tablespoon curry powder

1 teaspoon red chili powder

Salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

FOR GARNISH:

Sour cream or cream fraiche

2 tablespoons roasted squash seed or pumpkin seeds

Heat olive oil in large soup pot until very hot.

Saute onion, garlic and ginger until onion is translucent.

Add wine and simmer 3 to 4 minutes.

Add diced squash and stock, simmering until squash is tender. Time needed will depend on size of dice.

Stir in coconut milk and simmer another 5 minutes.

Roast curry powder in a small skillet over high heat until fragrant.

Stir curry powder into soup and turn off heat.

Puree soup in pot with immersion blender or in small batches in regular blender.

Stir chili powder, salt and pepper into soup, adjusting to taste.

Serve with dollop of sour cream and sprinkle with roasted seeds.

Yield: Serves 8 as a first course. Can be made a day ahead of time and reheated to serve.

Mexican Winter Squash Soup

2 pounds butternut squash

6 cups basic chicken stock

1½ tablespoons unsalted butter

3 cups chopped leeks, white and

¾ teaspoons salt

½ teaspoons minced garlic

½ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon pure chili powder

1 cup canned crushed tomatoes

1 to 2 chipotle peppers canned

2 cilantro bottoms

Freshly ground pepper

8 teaspoons sour cream

3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro

Rinse squash, trim ends, cut in half lengthwise, and discard strings and seeds. Put into a saucepan with stock, cutting again if necessary, to make squash fit into pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until just tender, about 20 minutes. Remove squash, and when it is cool enough to handle, cut away skin with a small, sharp knife and chop flesh into roughly 1-inch squares.

In a large, heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan, warm butter over medium-low heat. Add leeks and ¼ teaspoons salt, and cook until tender, about 45 minutes. Add garlic, cumin and chile powder, and cook for 1 minute. 3. Add reserved squash and stock, tomatoes, chipotles, cilantro bottoms, remaining salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes. Puree in a blender or food processor.

Return soup to saucepan and through. Garnish each serving with a tea- spoon of sour cream and chopped cilantro.

Yield: Serves 8.

Mixed Winter Squash Soup with Honey and Sage

1 kabocha squash, about 2 pounds

1 red kuri squash, about 2 pounds

1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt or kosher salt

Freshly ground white pepper

1 cup chopped yellow onion

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, plus extra for thinning if needed

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage

2 tablespoons honey

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Rub the 3 whole squashes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven, turning once or twice, until they are tender when pierced with a knife and browned, 1½ to 2 hours. Remove the squashes from the oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. Halve, seed, peel and chop the squashes. Measure 8 cups chopped squash; reserve the re-mainder in the refrigerator for another use.

In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet and tender, about 10 minutes. Add the chopped squash and 4 cups stock and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is very soft, about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Working in batches, process the squash mix-ture in a blender until smooth and transfer to a clean pot. Reheat gently to serving tempera-ture and add the sage, honey and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Thin with additional broth or water if necessary to achieve the proper consistency.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8.

Spicy Kale, Chorizo and Squash Soup

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

2 large or 3 small garlic cloves, finely chopped

8 ounces chorizo sausage, casing removed (if you’re using fully cooked chorizo, dice it be-fore adding it to the soup)

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1½ pounds winter squash, peeled, cut into ½-inch cubes (butternut, red kuri or buttercup are good varieties to use)

8 cups chicken broth

1½ pounds kale, stemmed, torn and chopped into small pieces or ribbons (about 2 small to medium bunches)

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy pot. Add the chopped onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute. Add the chorizo and the smoked paprika; cook until the chorizo no longer is pink (if using raw chorizo — if using fully cooked chorizo, just cook 1 to 2 minutes until the paprika is toasted.)

Add the cubes of winter squash, the chicken broth and the kale. Stir until the kale wilts down a little into the soup, and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and sim-mer, covered with the lid slightly ajar, for about 30 minutes, until the squash and kale is tender. Taste and add salt and pepper according to your taste.

Yield: Serves 6.

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