Monday, January 24, 2011

Cream of Squash Soup

We decided to try out a different squash soup for this year's holiday dinner. While similar in appearance to soups we'd done in the past, this one was slightly different, very simple to make, and very tasty! This recipe came from the Best of Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Vegetarian Cookbook. Interestingly, the soup was very unimpressive until you add the final touches of adding a dollop of sour cream and a generous sprinkling of nutmeg over the top. Those two ingredients were what made the soup stand out!

Here is the re-typed recipe with a few clarifications. As originally written, the wording of the recipe was difficult to follow, so this is a re-copying of how we interpreted it to mean. However, we did make one substitution; instead of roasting our squash, we used canned pumpkin, and it turned out very successful! The only other things we changed was veganizing the recipe by using MimicCreme non-dairy cream substitute and Tofutti sour cream in place of their respective dairy counterparts. In effect, by veganizing this soup, we've also made it appropriate to serve to anyone (like myself) who is lactose intolerant!

Cream of Squash Soup
1 piece banana, Hubbard or pumpkin squash, 3.5 - 4 lbs, cut into quarters and any seeds and strings removed (or canned equivalent)
4-8 whole cloves
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried marjoram
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup heavy (double) cream
sour cream
freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat over to 375. Stick one or two whole cloves in the flesh of each squash piece. Place pieces flesh side down in a baking pan or ovenproof dish. Pour in some hot water to fill pan about 1/2 inch. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Add boiling water if pan begins to dry. Remove from oven and let cool about 20-25 minutes. Discard cloves and scoop out flesh. Should have about 5 cups (2.5lb)

In a large saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and marjoram, cover, and cook over very low heat until translucent and tender, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add the contents of the saucepan and the squash to a blender 2 cups at a time. Puree on high speed until very smooth and light, about 3 minute. As each batch is pureed, transfer to saucepan. Add the stock and lemon juice.

Place the soup over medium heat, stirring frequently, to blend the flavors, 8-10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, stir the cream into the soup and heat almost to a boil. Ladle into warmed soup bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream and a grating of nutmeg or sprinkling of parsley or mint. Serve at once.

Serve 6-8 with leftovers.

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