Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October is here! Squash Soup all around!

The fall season makes me so happy. Crisp, chilly mornings giving rise to gorgeous bright crunching leaves days reminds me of going back to school and the upcoming HALLOWEEN! Outside our bedroom window we can see our neighbor's maple tree and it has just started changing to a deep pink and bright orange with some bits of yellow. Gorgeous! Squash and pumpkins are on the market now and I was fortunate enough to buy some (including a typical American style pumpkin for Halloween!!) when we were in Germany a couple of weeks ago.
 

I spent 20 euros on these puppies because we didn't have change and I was so excited to see the road-side stand with the American style pumpkin I just kept putting them in the box until I had 20 euros worth. Mental note: 20 euros of pumpkins makes me quite happy for many days. And my kid, too!


Look how happy she is with the funny double-pumpkin! The two green ones at Dina's feet are called Buttercup squash and they are outstanding.
video

Fine Cooking once published a Buttercup squash and leek soup which I've long forgotten the exact measurements, but here is the method:
Make or purchase broth- preferably a veggie broth. You will likely need about 2 cups (500 ml) for one squash and 2 leeks.  Next, get a stock pot and add your rinsed, chopped leeks (about 2 leeks, or one if your squash is small or your leek really large). If you haven't cooked with leeks before here's a little info video I made:
video


Next, you'll slice your squash in half, scoop out the seeds with a spoon and flip it cut side down. Carefully cut the skin of the squash off, using the cut side down method as much as possible to prevent your knife from slipping on the tough skin. Cube squash into 1 to 2 inch squares and throw these on top of the leeks. Next, pour in enough broth to almost come to the top of the squash. If you cover the squash with the broth you will have a thinner soup. I prefer a thicker soup, but either way will work.
Bring your pot to a boil and once it is boiling, simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes or until you can prick the squash pieces with a fork and they just fall apart. Next, use an immersion blender to blend the hot soup together and make a nice smooth texture. If you don't have a hand held blender, you can do it in batches in a traditional blender. Just makes for more containers to clean-up.
Serve it, piping hot, with a dab of butter or extra virgin olive oil. I prefer the flavor of butter, as shown above. To prevent the squash soup from being too thin: before you blend the soup with the blender, remove some liquid, taking care to leave the leeks and squash in the pot. Sometimes I remove about 180 ml (1/2 cup) or more, if I think the squash seemed to release a lot of water. Don't throw this away! Keep it and then, blend the remaining squash, liquid and leeks and check the consistency. If it seems too thick, I slowly add the reserved liquid until I reach the desired thickness.

You can find these buttercup squash at the local markets (definitely the Eindhoven market on Saturday mornings) and also Genneper Park (I am starting to feel like an advert for them!) sometimes has them in their farm market. 

If you wish, you can substitute butternut squash (Flespompoen) for the buttercup, but you'll be missing out on something. Butternut squash is good, no lie, but trust me: the buttercup squash will blow you away.

Happy Fall, everyone!

3 comments:

  1. Great Blog Site Meredith! Thanks for sharing - Sheree (that has to soon move onto Google +)

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  2. Hi Meredith... Its been a while since we have seen you. But I just stumbled over your blog via traceys while I was reading her post and your comment to it. Good to see you are well and Dina too! Will go Squash and pumpkin hunting to make that fab soup!

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  3. thanks for the comments! Hope to see you soon, Manju! I forgot to mention that I often see a squash that looks similar to buttercup squash at the Indian and Turkish markets. However, it is much much bigger, but otherwise looks similar. It is often sold already cut into pieces. It is NOT tasty! In fact I thought it was stringy and gross when I tried it last year. So be careful when shopping. Butternut squash is a good alternative if you can't find buttercup, however.

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