Creamy Winter Squash Soup

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I had 2 Acorn squash left in storage in the basement that needed to be used this past weekend.  Not really having any definitely plans in mind, I brought them up to the kitchen, cut them in half, drizzled with a little bit of olive oil and plunked them on a baking sheet.  I roasted them at 350 degrees F for about an hour, until they were soft.  I ate half of one for lunch–it was nice and sweet and complimented my leftover pesto cheesecake nicely.  As for the rest of the squash…well, I found a squash dinner roll recipe that looked good, but it only called for 1 cup of squash puree.  But I had lots of squash, so I needed to find something else to do with it.  Enter a dandy, yet underutilized, little cookbook I’ve had for over a decade called Zucchini, Pumpkins, and Squash by Kathleen Desmond Stang.

I found a recipe for a winter squash soup that had a lot of spices in it that sounded really good.  I made it for dinner on Super Bowl Sunday.  It was nice and light and a welcome dinner after munching on a heavy, cheesy garlic pesto bread loaf (which was delicious, by the way–and I shall post that recipe later this week).

You can easily make this recipe vegan by omitting the sour cream, but just be forewarned that the soup will be quite spicy without the cream.  I left some of the ribs in the jalapeno, just for a little extra kick, and when I tasted the soup before adding the cream, all I can say is, “Wow, it had a little bit of kick to it!”  The cream really helps to temper the heat.  And, in my humble opinion, just makes it taste yummy.

Creamy Winter Squash Soup (adapted from Zucchini, Pumpkins, and Squash)

3 cups Acorn squash puree

½ tablespoon ground cumin

½ tablespoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium jalapeno, minced & seeds removed

¾ cup finely chopped onion

½ Granny Smith apple, peeled and finely chopped

4 cups vegetable broth

Salt and pepper to taste

¾ cup sour cream (or plain yogurt or cream)

Combine the cumin and coriander in a large saucepan.  Dry toast the spices over medium heat for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the sage, nutmeg, cloves and olive oil, stirring together for another minute.  Add the onion, apple, and jalapeno and cook for about 5 minutes.  Stir occasionally to keep the mixture from burning to the bottom of the pan.  Add the vegetable broth and squash puree.  Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the onions and apples are very soft.  Remove from heat.

Using an immersion blender, puree the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Put the sour cream in a small bowl and add about ½ cup of the soup to the sour cream.  Mix the soup into the sour cream, then pour the mixture into the soup.  This will prevent the sour cream from curdling in the soup.

I served my soup with some chili-roasted pumpkin seeds.

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