Check out this squash! I love all the different squash in the supermarket in the fall. This one that I found is called Carnival Squash. Named for its fabulous colors, this pumpkin shaped squash has orange colored flesh and a taste very similar to butternut squash.
With the weather getting cooler by the second, I had a hankering for some warm soup and my beautiful squash find seemed like the perfect starting point. I diced the squash to roast it, but in retrospect (given the fact that I nearly severed my fingers several times) I probably should have just halved it, drizzled it with the oil, syrup, salt and pepper and roasted it, because it was a devil to cut....it was hard...it made cutting butternut squash seem like slicing butter. But I do prefer getting a "crusty" caramelized texture on the squash so I suppose it was worth the extra effort and risk of injury. (Sadly, unlike butternut squash, I could not find precut carnival or acorn squash at the supermarket)
For the broth I used a new Swanson cooking stock (which quite honestly I found there to be little difference in taste from regular Swanson chicken broth, but whatever...I can say I've tried it now.)
For seasoning, I went Indian (and for those who know me that's really exotic for me). Garam Masala which is a warm and peppery combination of cloves, cardomom, peppers and nutmeg is popular in Indian foods. It is, I think, a perfect blend with the earthy flavors of the squash. Curry powder would be a natural addition here, but I'm not going to get too exotic all at once. I bought my Garam Masala at the Penzey's Spices in Grand Central Station, but I found a great recipe to make your own right here.
Carnival and Acorn Squash Soup
1 Carnival Squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
1 Acorn Squash, peeled, seeds removed and diced
1 medium carrot, large diced
1 celery stalk, large diced
4 shallots, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spread vegetables in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the vegetables with the oil and the syrup and sprinkle with the pepper and salt; stir to completely coat the vegetables. Roast the vegetables in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender.
Transfer the vegetables to a food processor and process until smooth adding some of the broth if needed to smooth. Spoon the pureed mixture into a medium saucepan, stir in the remaining broth and the white wine; bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the half and half and the Garam Masala. Season with additional salt to taste.
Yield: 4-6 servings
Happy Birthday to my baby!! I can't believe she is 12...where have all the years gone? She actually liked my soup even though it had squash in it...ewww.