Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Henry David's Favorite Squash Soup

***I found a recipe for squash soup in the Canadian Reader's Digest, tweaked it to suit the contents of my pantry, and out came a thick soup that Henry David adores. I like it so much that I don't have to drown it in cheese and crackers, which is my usual reaction to most soups. This freezes well, so it's an easy thing to make in the fall and use up all year long. The way I make it is totally healthy too, so you can feel free to eat that chocolate bar afterward if you like.

Olive oil
1 Yellow Onion, roughly chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, roughly minced
2 T. Freshly Grated Gingerroot
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Butternut Squash (about six cups), peeled and cubed
2.5 c. Vegetable Broth (recipe on that included in notes)
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped into 2" pieces
Juice of 1 Orange (fresh is best here)
Juice of 1 Lemon (fresh is best here)
1 tsp. Grated Orange Zest
Salt (kosher & regular table salt)
Black Pepper

Kitchenware Needed:
*Steamer pan with lid
*Food Processor
*Good vegetable peeler (I like the Good Grips model.)
*Knives & Cutting Board
*Hand Juicer & Strainer

1. Peel and cut squash into 2x2 chunks. Place in steamer pan, sprinkle with a bit of salt, and cover. Cook until pieces are easily pierced with a fork. Do this in batches until all squash is cooked, and place already cooked squash in a bowl until all is cooked. (It takes me two batches, and they each take about 10-12 minutes.)

2. Peel and cut carrots. Place them in small saucepan filled with 2.5 cups of water. Heat over medium-high heat until pieces are easily pierced with a fork. (I cook this the whole time I'm doing all the squash.) It is VERY IMPORTANT to reserve the water from this once the carrots are cooked. I'll explain why in a bit.

3. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic. Cook and stir until onions begin to soften, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in gingerroot and cook for another 30 seconds or so.

4. Add squash and carrots to onion mixture and stir. Transfer in small batches to food processor. Process until completely smooth. Empty each batch into crockpot, and begin again until all batches of veggies are processed smooth.

5. Stir in cumin, orange juice, lemon juice, grated orange zest, about 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1/2 tsp. black pepper to mixture in crock pot. (I strain the juice to capture any small seeds. Leave crockpot off at this point.)

6. Let's use the carrot water to make the vegetable broth. Roughly chop up three ribs of celery, one zucchini, and one orange pepper, and add to water. Sprinkle in about 1 tsp. kosher salt and a little pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 15 minutes. (I usually get this going while I'm in the middle of step four.) Get a strainer handy. Pour broth through the strainer into the crockpot, making sure all the veggies go into the strainer and only the broth goes into the crockpot. Toss the veggies in the compost pile or the trash. Stir crockpot mixture until well-combined.

7. Cook on low for 1 to 2 hours. Serve with whatever you would like. Makes about 2.5 quarts. (Last night we each had a big bowl, plus I filled two quart-sized containers for the freezer.)

Each serving is about 100 calories, has less than 2 g. of fat, about 3 g. of protein, 20 g. carbohydrate, and about 3 g. fiber. It is yummy and healthy. Believe that from someone who was afraid of squash and cooked carrots until her 30's. It really is that good.