I harvested a bumper crop of winter squashes from our backyard, and after giving away several to friends, neighbors and some people that I barely knew, I thought I should give myself pause and look up some squash recipes before I gave them all away. I’ll admit that I had started to tire of steamed squash with beans (my default method of cooking them), as I had not yet thought to push the envelope of culinary possibilities with this gourd.
So with some googling I found this recipe for squash soup. After a few experiments with the recipe, I made some changes, and at the suggestion of my room mate I substituted the canned soup stock (which was in the original recipe) for soup stock made from scratch. This made a big difference, flavor-wise.
This is what you’ll need:
4 pounds peeled squash, sliced thinly
2 medium onions
3 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons butter or oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
About 2 cups or equivalent of cubed ham, ham hocks, ham bone with meat attached or other meat for soup stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
A pinch of your favorite dried herb, such as oregano, thyme or basil
If you have ham, cube it or slice into small squares. If you have a large ham bone, break it into 2 or 3 smaller pieces. Place the “soup meat” in a large pot and pour in 8 cups of water. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 90 minutes.
Meanwhile slice the second onion crosswise and fry in butter with the remaining crushed clove of garlic until the onion rings are somewhat caramelized. Set aside.
After 90 minutes, remove all bone pieces (if any) and add the squash. Bring back to a boil and after about 20 minutes or less the squash should be soft enough to mash with a large fork or similar utensil. Continue mashing the squash until it is fairly liquified. Using a strainer helps, or if you are impatient you can transfer the squash pieces to a blender.
Turn off the heat and now pour in the caramelized onions, butter and all, from the skillet that you set aside. Then add the heavy cream and stir.
Add your choice of herbs, just a pinch of the dried leaves — sprinkle it on the soup just before serving.
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