Resolve to make this soup with the squash that have been hanging out in the kitchen for weeks now. A plus side to squash is that they keep forever without much fuss. They can also be forgotten – beautiful to look at it’s true, but they’re also tasty and it’s nice to actually eat them.
We visited friends Reni and Mark over the weekend and Reni turned me on to an unusual squash soup. She’s a talented Sumi painter, dog lover and cook who lives in a home with the usual amenities plus a huge wood burning cook stove in the middle of her kitchen which she actually uses. Her pizza’s to die for.
When she recommended this squash soup I paid attention, returned to my own kitchen and made a batch with a few twists.
This is a straightforward squash soup with delicious embellishments – ginger, citrus, a pinch of saffron (optional). I made a small batch with apple instead of tangerine juice, and hazelnuts instead of pistachios for a more ‘local’ flavor. Either way it’s a winner, a good vegetarian meal mid-winter with salad, cheese, bread, a sip of wine. And, it’s a beauty – silky dark orange served with yogurt, parsley and nuts in the center of a bowl. An eyeful and a satisfying way to eat your vegetables.
Reni’s Tangerine Butternut Squash Soup:
Start by roasting the squash, butternut or what you have on hand. (Whistling Train Farm and a few other vendors have squash available at Farmers Markets.)
Use apple instead of tangerine juice if you like, and omit the honey – apple cider/juice is itself a potent sweetener; roasted spicy hazelnuts were a delicious topping in place of pistachios.
4 cups cooked squash
2 T chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves
¼ t ground cinnamon (or ½ a cinnamon stick) & a pinch of saffron threads (optional)
2 T unsalted butter
5 C water
1 ½ C fresh tangerine juice or orange juice
¼ C dried apricots
2 T honey
For the gremolata:
¼ C chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 T chopped pistachios
1 T minced tangerine or orange zest
¼ C plain yogurt
Sauté cooked squash, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and saffron in butter in a large pot over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
Add water, tangerine juice, apricots and honey. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until flavors are blended, 25 minutes or so. Let soup stand off heat for 10 minutes, then puree in a blender in batches until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat until warmed through. Or, use an immersion blender and puree the whole thing right in the pot. I love this tool!
Toss parsley, pistachios and zest for gremolata together in a bowl, spoon yogurt on each serving of soup, then garnish with parsley mixture.
Inspired by Cuisine at Home magazine.