Winter squashes are collecting on my kitchen counter with each trip to the market: butternut, spaghetti, delicata, acorn. Pretty mottled skins with smears of yellow and green hold the promise within of sweet and tender golden flesh. These heavy fruits, symbols of the season, are called pepos, (fleshy, indehiscent, many-seeded with a tough rind) and include pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.
Here’s what I made with the first acorn squash of fall. This classic soup pairs roasted squash with juicy apples and is easy to make if you are still planning a dish for Thanksgiving. It can be updated with my favorite garnish of creamy crumbled feta cheese and crispy fried shallots.
roasted acorn squash + apple soup
with crispy shallots + feta
1 acorn squash
1.5 cups chopped apple + 1 apple chopped and set aside
1 onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 3/4 cups broth
1/2 cup cream
4 tbsp butter
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
shallots, thinly sliced
organic extra virgin olive oil
fine sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds and fibrous pulp. Score the orange flesh inside, brush with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Place the squash in a glass pan cut side up and then pour 1/4 inch of water in the bottom of the pan to keep the squash moist. Allow to roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, testing the tenderness of the flesh with a knife.
While the squash is roasting, saute the onions in olive oil until they begin to caramelize. Add 1.5 cups of chopped apples, garlic, and ginger to the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the broth.
When the squash is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle it. Separate the roasted flesh from the skin and toss into a food processor. Compost the skin. Add the butter and broth, being sure to scrape in all of the onions and apple bits. Blend together until puréed. Add the remaining fresh chopped apple and purée again.
Pour the purée into a pot and warm over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the cream. Add the rosemary, cinnamon, and season well with salt and pepper. Keep warm on low, stirring often.
In a frying pan, heat about a 1/2 inch of olive oil over medium-high and toss in the sliced shallots. Stir constantly with a spatula until they turn golden and crispy. Remove shallots from the pan with a slotted spatula and place on a towel to allow the excess oil to be absorbed.
Serve the soup hot with feta cheese, fried shallots, and fresh cracked pepper on top.