Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Squash, The Hard Case Vegetable For Cooking

by Nancy Newberry

Squash fits into the busy holiday season. Here we offer recipes to make your holiday cooking easier. The first is for a Winter Squash Soup Base that you can freeze and then prepare three ways.
Winter Squash Soup Base
This recipe multiplies easily and freezes well.
1 (3 pound) winter squash (butternut, kabocha, or blue pumpkin, or any orange-fleshed squash)
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, smashed
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock, or as needed
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Split the squash and scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp. Place squash cut side down in a baking dish. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted in the squash meets no resistance, about 1 hour. Let the squash cool until you can handle it, and scoop out the pulp. You should have about 2 ½ cups pulp.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook and stir just until fragrant, about one minute. Pour in the broth, and add the squash pulp. The soup base will be fairly cool at this point.
Using a blender, food processor, or an immersion blender, blend to a smooth consistency, adding stock if needed. Season with salt and pepper. The soup base can be frozen at this point, or  you can continue with the option below.
Savory Squash Soup
The combination of earthy sage and winter squash and a fried sage leaf garnish is from Deborah Madison, described in her book Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
Yield: 6 servings
7 cups soup base
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
12-18 whole fresh sage leaves
Heat the soup base and chopped sage in a saucepan to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
In a small skillet, heat the olive oil until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the sage leaves a few at a time, and fry until crisp, about 1 minute. Set aside on a paper towel-lined plate. Serve each bowl of soup garnished with 2-3 sage leaves.

No comments:

Post a Comment