Sunday, November 21, 2010

Spiced Acorn Squash - a splendid fall soup

Can't stop here, this is bat country. Well thankfully for the sake of the world, the Navy blocks me from accessing the same muse as mister Hunter S Thompson with a convenient policy of urination. However, some muses are just as useful. Hemmingway once said that his inspiration came from cheap Shiraz and the memory of a lost love, as did mine on that fateful Friday evening. Thankfully, I recognized what was happening in my head and wrote a vaguely coherent memo to myself to be deciphered at a later date. Today I worked through my cryptic message to myself and arrived a point only tasted by few. Ok, myself and Dute.

The story begins with a pound of chicken thighs, although any poultry would probably do just fine. Lightly dusted with kosher salt, pepper, and smoked paprika; drizzled in olive oil and pan roasted for fifteen to twenty minutes at 375 degrees.

After being removed from the oven and sufficiently cooled; tear the chicken roughly.

In the mean time roughly chop two large onions, and six cloves of garlic.

For those who don't know, this is an acorn squash. Actually it's two acorn squashes.

Now seeds play an important role later on. So you may wish to save them. More about that later. Peel and cube the both squashes (squashi?). In a good old stock pot melt three tablespoons of butter and three of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and squash and cook until the onions are soft.

This is where I cut some corners and became a bit lazy, but that's only because I had everything I needed already available. Aka, I had stock and salsa already. Normally I advocate making your own, but I don't think it's entirely needed in this recipe.

Chicken stock, I only used one, a bit shy of a quart.

A roasted tomato salsa and a salsa verde. I used half a jar of each.

It all goes into the pot, and is allowed to simmer for 30 minutes, and then is attacked with the brutal fury of an immersion blender. Silkiness ensues.

Remember those seeds I was talking about? Well I tossed them, but only because I already had pumpkin seeds at my disposal. Acorn squash and pumpkins are close relatives, so if you don't have pumpkin seens feel free to roast up those squash seeds with a bit of ancho chili powder. If you do have pumpkin seeds, put a drop of oil in a pans, and toss the seeds in the chili powder.

Serving time. I laddled the puree into a bowl, and topped with the chicken, a scoop of each salsa, a chopped avocado and the seeds. Splendid simplicity of squash...I wonder how it would be with pumpkin?

Edited to add, I don't recommend the Hemmingway approach to cooking. All you end up with a is a really depressing hangover...and awesome soup.

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