From Flower to Squash Soup
September 21, 2011
Allan in Food , Musing on Other Subjects, Vegetables, butternut squash soup, dairy free soup, freezing soup, squash flower, vegetarian soup

Image:-gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu

There is a quantum leap from writing about flowers to discussing food, but if one considers how a flower can evolve into a butternut squash, that distance is diminished.

Image: butternutsquashrecipes.caThis is the time of year to prepare enough squash soup to freeze and enjoy throughout fall and winter. I suppose that one could make this -as needed- throughout the seasons because squash store well and are easily available.

However, I choose not to prepare this soup in winter. In my experience, butternut squash that has been stored will secrete a mucilaginous substance during peeling. That white fluid can immobilizes the palm of the hand for quite a while because, when dry, it becomes a film that does not wash off easily. However, in freshly harvested butternut squash, the secretion is benign.

Image: howtocookbutternutsquash.caAs this soup is a favorite family recipe, I make huge quantities to keep on hand for whenever the grandkids visit. Last year, I prepared two batches of 6 quarts each. Today, I made twelve quarts, working with two stockpots at the same time. It just seemed more efficient to do so.

The most inspiring recipe that I have ever come across is called Butternut Shout and may be found in the cookbook “Looney Spoons; Low Fat Food Made Fun”, written by sisters Janet and Greta Podleski.

Because I have very specific dietary, logistical, and workflow needs, I have altered their recipe to meet my own requirements. Mine is vegetarian, dairy free, and serves a large crowd. I prepare all of the ingredients in advance, and make sure to wear very supportive shoes while cooking. In the same way that a wise gardener owns a good quality hand pruner and a decent pair of gardening gloves, a wise cook will wear the right shoes to ward off fatigue that may result from standing in one place for too long.

Ingredients

2 table spoons Canola oil.

2 Large onions, peeled and chopped

1 tea spoon curry powder

8 cups Butternut Squash [about 2 small or 1 large squash], peeled, de-seeded, and diced if using a paring knife but peeled, de-seeded, and thinly sliced, if using a chef’s knife.

Choose long, narrow squash, which are the least gourd-shaped. The larger the bulb-end, the harder it is to peel the squash and the more seeds to be scooped out. First, slice away top and bottom tips of the squash, then cut into 3 sections for easier peeling. Cut bulbous portion in half to scoop out seeds.

3 ripe Bartlett pears, peeled, quartered, and de-seeded.

Do not substitute other varieties of pear.  If pears are not ripe, slice thinly before cooking.

3 cups organic, low-sodium, vegetable broth, available in most supermarkets

½-cup apple juice. Do not substitute other juices.

½ tea spoon salt

¼ tea spoon pepper

Cooking Instructions

Heat oil in stockpot. Add onions. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.  Sprinkle curry powder over onions, stir in, and cook for 60 second longer to release its flavor and aroma.

In the following order, add to pot: - squash, pears, broth, juice, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Turn off heat. Uncover and puree soup with an immersion blender. Soup will have a velvety-lumpy texture. Continue pureeing for velvety-smooth, if desired. If a broth-like consistency is preferred, dilute soup with more vegetable broth or water and turn up heat to simmer for 3 minutes longer. Whether thick or diluted, taste soup and adjust seasoning before serving or freezing.

With two full ladles per portion, this recipe will serve 10 as a thick soup. Freezes well.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/).
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