Ascent Magazine Winter 2002
4 cups water
8 cups acorn squash, peeled and cut into small cubes
2 bay leaves
2 t salt
4 T olive oil (for spices)
2 cloves of garlic
1 T diced ginger
1/2 t turmeric
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t asafetida (Indian spice available in any Indian grocery)
With the cooler weather upon us, the ubiquitous and versatile squash is truly in season. Not only is it great for making all kinds of comforting meals, from warming soups to sweet pies, it is also a good source of antioxidants and immune-boosting nutrients, including vitamin A (in the form of beta carotene) and vitamin C.
When selecting squash, make sure that it feels heavy for its size. The skin should be hard, with no soft or mouldy spots. Acorn squashes are perfectly ripe when their shiny green skin develops orange patches. You can buy them green as they will continue to ripen at home. There is no need to refrigerate winter squashes and they will keep well for weeks if stored in a cool, dry, dark area. Acorn squashes are an especially good storage variety, lasting up to three months after harvesting. It’s so satisfying to know that you have a stock of these wonderful vegetables on hand throughout the winter.
- Boil 4 cups of water and add the squash, bay leaves and salt. Boil until tender. Remove the bay leaves and blend the water and squash into a creamy consistency.
- In a large pot, heat the oil and all spices for about 1 minute. Stir frequently to prevent burning.
- Add the blended squash to the cooked spices.
- Stir until smooth and heated through.
Boost the soothing factor of your Winter Squash Soup by adding a decorative swirl of creamy soy yogurt to each portion, and add dimension with croutons.
For the croutons:
4 slices of almost-stale bread, cubed
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of salt and white pepper
Optional: 1/4 t of cinnamon or
other spice of choice.
Preheat oven to 300 F.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss until the oil is absorbed and spices completely coat the cubes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, tossing often to ensure proper browning and crispiness.