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Squash Soup with Croutons

October 12, 2010

 

Acorn squash- almost too cute to eat! Almost...

 

Squash soup just screams fall to me, and so I love when squash starts showing up in my CSA share and at the farmer’s market.  Fresh squash is a bit tricky to manage, with peeling and all, but well worth the effort for the excellent flavor.  I’ve also been asked about canning squash, which Jane and I have done.  It requires pressure canning for 45 minutes to be safe due to the higher pH of the squash.  Considering how well squash lasts fresh and its availability throughout most of the winter, it doesn’t seem to lend itself too well to canning.  So fresh squash it is!

 

Peeling the squash, probably the hardest part of this recipe

 

Start out with 3 small squashes (1 large butternut squash would also work).  Peel the squash, and depending on the size and shape of the squash, you may have little indents that don’t lend themselves to being peeled.  A small paring knife will take care of that.  Cut in half and scoop out the insides; a grapefruit spoon works really well for this.  Cube the squash into evenly sized pieces.  You should get about 9-10 cups of squash.

 

Scoop, cube, repeat...

 

In a soup pot, melt 2 – 4 tbsp. butter.  Add 1 large leek, halved, chopped and very well rinsed (leeks tend to be quite sandy).  Cook over medium heat until the leeks become soft.  Add the squash, and then add enough stock to cover the squash.  I used chicken stock that I made from simmering the leftovers from a roasted chicken (bones, skin, etc) for a few hours and then straining the liquid.  You can then freeze this for later, which is what I did.  Once frozen, you can skim the fat off the top as well, for a lower fat option.

 

Before blending...

 

Boil the liquid until  the squash is soft.  Add 1 tbsp. dried sage and 1-1/2 tsp. salt.  Puree the soup with an immersion blender.  You can also add milk or cream at this point if you would like a creamier soup.

 

...and after blending

 

A great topper for this soup is homemade croutons.  Toast cubed bread in a cast iron pan with 2 tbsp. butter or olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt to taste.

 

Toasty croutons, great for topping soup or salad

 

Serve with croutons on top, and enjoy!

 

Hot bowl of soup!

 

There are tons of variations that work well with this soup.  Add potatoes, turnips, carrots, or whatever else you have around before blending.

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