Monday, December 31, 2007

Recipe: Spicy Squash Soup (Σούπα με Kολοκύθα)

Squash tends to build up at our house. I love it; my husband doesn’t. It’s one of the few areas where our palates don’t overlap.

Squash roasted at high temperature with olive oil and salt is acceptable to us both. That’s pretty much it; Oven Roasted Squash is the lone star on a long list of squash recipes I’ve tried over the years.

This might not be a problem except that it’s squash season and we’ve been regularly getting one variety of squash or another in our Full Circle Farm CSA box. Since my perpetual New Year’s resolution is not to waste food, I keep trying new squash recipes and hoping I’ll hit on another one we both like. As good as it is, there are only so many days in a month I can eat roasted squash.

I hit the jackpot last Friday.

Chelsea Greigh’s Spicy Squash Soup is a winner. Its rich spicing counteracts the tendency of winter squash to be overly sweet, the characteristic to which my husband objects. We both loved the soup and happily enjoyed it two meals in a row.

I tried Chelsea’s soup as part of Taste and Create, an event in which food writers are paired with a randomly assigned partner, and asked to cook one recipe off their partner’s blog. Taste and Create gives writers the opportunity to have their recipes tested by a peer.

Spicy Squash Soup (Σούπα με Kολοκύθα)
Serves 4 - 6
Adapted from Chelsea Greigh of Rolling in Dough

If you prefer less spicy food, leave out the crushed red pepper flakes. There are three ways to serve Spicy Squash Soup: 1) Drizzle the soup with high quality olive oil and sprinkle it with green onions and minced parsley (my husband's way); 2) Sprinkle the soup with green onions and minced parsley (my way); or 3) Add a dollop of sour cream to the soup and sprinkle it with chives (Chelsea’s way). All three versions are delicious. I’ve adjusted Chelsea’s recipe to the size of my squash and the level of spicing we prefer. You can find Chelsea’s original version of Spicy Squash Soup here.

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup diced carrot, 1/2” dice
2 1/2 cups diced onions, 1/2” dice
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. chili powder blend
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 3/4 lbs. cleaned, peeled, and diced winter squash (6 cups), any variety
3/4 lb. peeled and diced potatoes, 1/2” dice (2 cups)
8 cups water
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

Optional Garnishes:
2 green onions, finely chopped for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. minced parsley for sprinkling
Olive oil for drizzling
Sour cream for dolloping
Chives for sprinkling

Sauté the carrots and onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until the onions soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the chili powder, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the squash, potato, and water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and cook at a slow boil until the vegetables are soft, about 30 – 40 minutes.

Puree the soup (this is easiest to do with a stick blender). Simmer the soup for 10 - 15 minutes or until it is the thickness you prefer. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Taste and add salt or freshly ground black pepper, as needed (squash and potatoes really suck up salt; you may need to add more than you normally would).

Garnish and serve.


Peter M said...

Laurie, I'm still not sick of squash...great soup, great posts you've had for 2007.

Happy New Year and Xponia Polla!

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter, Χρόνια Πολλά και Καλή Χρονιά! I've very much getting to know you through our respective blogs. You are a great guy and an excellent cook! Here's to more good food and good times in 2008!

Suganya said...

Wishes for a very happy new year, Laurie. I had quite a few posts to catch up. You have been busy blogging :)

test it comm said...

This sounds sounds tasty. The sweetness of the squash would go well with the chili and cumin.

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I made this yesterday. It was a little sweet and something seemed wrong - I thought it might be the pumpkin I used with the butternut. I added more salt & pepper. We ate it and it got rave reviews. Then as I was cleaning up I found the recently ground cumin seeds - that's what was missing! So today I'll try it again. And maybe by then I'll have found the missing green onions.... :)
Great photograph, by the way!

Laurie Constantino said...

Happy New Year, Suganya! I have been busy, but I still have too big of a backlog -- so much cooking during the holiday season!

Yes, Kevin, the spices really highlight the best qualities of the squash. Best wishes for the New Year!

Too funny, Tissy. I'd hate to say how many times I've found an unused ingredient sitting on the table when I'm doing the dishes. I'm glad people liked it without the cumin, but you should definitely try it again with it! As for the missing green onions, perhaps they've run away from home?

ThreeTastes said...

Not like squash! How is this possible? You must really love this man! : )

We're going to have to try this soup if a non-squash-lover gives it a thumb's up. . .

Laurie Constantino said...

Manju - I know! I think it's really odd. He doesn't like sweet potatoes or desserts either. Now I didn't believe it about desserts for a long time, but I now understand it's completely true!

Maria Verivaki said...

this looks absolutely delicious: i make a curried pumpkin soup based on nz recipe, and it reminds me of it...

i have linked to you in my EATERIES column!

Maria Verivaki said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Laurie Constantino said...
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Laurie Constantino said...

Thanks Maria it is quite tasty. You've probably noticed that I have a link to your blog on my front page as well - I really enjoy your stories!

Patrice said...

I made this again. With the cumin seeds. OH. MY. GOD. It was incredible. And it was orange instead of green - I'm feeling a little disloyal to St. Patrick and my Irish ancestors. But they'd appreciate the potatoes. It is the perfect solution to the squash that do pile up.

Laurie Constantino said...

Tissy, I'm so glad you tried again and liked it! Now you have to try the carrot soup recipe to deal with all those FCF carrots. As for St. Patrick, as long as you raised a beer in his honor, I think you're safe!