Warm up to the fall with this delicious squash soup. My recipe is made with a little Midwestern twist. I added wild rice, a Midwestern staple but it can be served with some hearty bread instead. I enjoy squashes in all shapes and forms. Many of us think of squash when we hear the word fall cooking so I will start off my fall recipe collection with a squash dish.
As the fall season is arriving, I feel like a little squirrel trying to get ready for the colder months: eating the great variety of fruits and vegetables, storing up foods, making last minute repairs and just mentally getting ready. By now we are aware that summer is gone and a new season is coming with all its beauty and challenges. It was the Autumnal Equinox a couple of days ago, when the days and nights are equal and from now on the days are going to get shorter and colder as well.
The warming sweet butternut squash is simmered with the white onion, garlic, potatoes and is balanced with the bitter celery root and the lovely pungent spices. At the end, it is topped with cream and the sweet almond slivers for a bit of crunchiness.
- 1 medium sized butternut squash- about 3 lbs
- 1 medium sized Russet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 finally chopped large onion, white is the best
- vegetable oil (sunflower)
- 2 slices of smoked bacon (optional)
- 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, about 1 inch long
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 smaller celery root, peeled and chopped up into 4 pieces
- stock (vegetable or chicken)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 thyme spring
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- freshly ground black pepper
- red hot pepper to taste
- 1 cup of almond slivers
- 1 cup of uncooked wild rice or rye bread to serve
Preparing the squash. Peel and cut squash lengthwise, take out the seeds. Cut them into cubes. Warm up some oil on medium high heat and brown the cubes for a good 10-15 minutes.
Make the soup base. Have 1/2 cup of cold water ready. Warm up the oil. Sauté the onion, and the bacon(optional). When translucent and you can smell the aroma of the the onions and the bacon, add the chopped ginger for a few minutes, stir. Add the crushed garlic and 1 tsp paprika, stir for 30 seconds to activate. Add the little cold water that you had set aside earlier, stir.
Put the browned squash, potatoes, thyme spring, the freshly ground nutmeg and the celery root in the pot. Add the stock, enough to cover by about 1 inch above everything and cook for 30 minutes.
Cooking the wild rice (optional). Cook 1 cup of wild rice with 3 cups of water, partially covered for about 20 minutes or until the rice is soft and crunchy.
Roast the almond slivers. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet and spread the almond pieces evenly on the sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Be careful not to burn it. Serve on top of the soup.
When ready, let the soup cool for about 10-20 minutes. Add the cream and black pepper. Stir.
If you want the soup to be a little chunky, set aside about 20% of the cooked squash pieces. Use a hand held blender and puree the rest of the soup. Make sure you blend the celery chunks. Transfer the whole pieces back to the rest of the pureed soup. (If you prefer a smooth soup, just puree everything).
Check to see if more salt, black pepper, red hot pepper are needed.
Serve with wild rice/bread and the almond slivers.
Recipe, photo and text by twincitiesherbs.com.