Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Acorn Squash Soup

Nothing nurishes the soul, like a large bowl of piping hot soup on a cold winter’s night. When roasted, the flavor of acorn squash intensifies along with the rich amber color.  The scent that lingers through the house is amazing and sets the tone for the season.  I had some leftover Challah bread from the weekend’s French toast adventure and decided to make croutons to garnish the top of the soup.

Acorn Squash Soup

2 Large Acorn Squash
1 Large white onion, diced finely
1 T. Butter
2 T. Olive oil
4 C. Chicken Stock
1 T. Fresh thyme leaves
3 T. Maple syrup
Salt and pepper

Challah Bread
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Chives for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.

Use a strong chef’s knife to cut the acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to stem. Use a medium spoon to scoop out the seeds and strings in the center of each squash. Use a glass baking dish; place each of the halves so the flesh side is flush to the dish. Fill with water, so it is about 1/3 of inch of water. This will keep them moist and easy to scoop. Bake for about 45 minutes to one hour or until tender. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes prior to scooping.

In a stockpot, add the butter and olive oil and cook on medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the diced onions. Then add the cooked squash, thyme and chicken stock. Stir and then add the maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a quick boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes. Either using an emulsion blender or regular blender, puree the soup. Taste and add salt/pepper as required.

Challah Croutons
Cut four slices and trim the edges. Then cut into 24 small cubes and add to a large bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the cubes. Use your hands to coat and season with salt & pepper. Add to a large skillet over medium heat and toast until all sides are crispy. Watch carefully while turning to prevent burning. Let cool. Spoon soup into bowls and garish each bowl with half a dozen challah croutons and sprinkle with chives.

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