Squashes are related to melons and cucumbers and were growing wild throughout the New World when European explorers first arrived. They are divided into summer and winter varieties: Summer squashes are thinner-skinned with smaller seeds, and winter squashes are thick-skinned, more fibrous and have larger seeds, which can be toasted and eaten as a snack or garnish for soups or salads. The fact that winter squashes are so hearty makes them a great harvest food that can be stored over the winter. There are any number of recipes that feature squash - both sweet (such as pies, cakes, breads and muffins), as well as savory (roasted, stewed, mashed, pureed, and of course soups).
While doing research for my latest book, The Thousand Dollar Dinner (a culinary challenge that took place way back in 1851) - I found out that soup actually had a rather showy place at 19th century dinner parties, usually brought to the table in fancy soup tureens and placed in front the lady of the house. If there were two soups, a tureen was situated at each end of the table. The serving process was slow and deliberate – the wait-servant would hold the soup plate close to the tureen, passing one ladle full to each person. Rules of etiquette dictated that “soup should be eaten from the side, not the point, of the spoon, and there should be no noise when sipping.” And apparently asking for “seconds” was considered rude and strictly impermissible!
The soup I created here might not be the type typically served from an elegant soup tureen ... BUT it is perfect for lunch on a chilly fall day!
Acorn Squash Soup
Yield: 2 servings
- 1 Acorn squash (Acorn squash are pretty small, so if you'd like to make more than two servings of soup, I would use 2 squash)
- Vegetable broth
- fresh ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
Cut squash into slices, spray lightly with olive oil and grill or roast until tender. When cool, cut into chunks and place in a crock pot or large pot and cover with vegetable broth (the more broth you add, the thinner the soup will be, so it just depends on how thick your would like it. Keep in mind, you can always add some more broth later to thin it out). Add a couple of finely chopped cloves of garlic and some grated fresh ginger and simmer over low heat for a couple of hours until the flavors blend. Then puree by using a stick blender or transferring the mixture to a food processor (may have to do in batches). You can eat it then or simmer a little longer. Garnish with nuts, pumpkin seeds, croutons or freshly grated cheese, or a combination! I used Nature Box Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Pumpkin Seeds - yum!