08 October 2011

Hearty Squash Soup with Red Pepper




Fall is the season for Gourds. While there are many many varieties of Gourdes, when it comes to cooking one we usually default to two types, squash and pumpkins. Fall is also the start of the soup season. The air is getting  crisper and cooler. A hot comforting dish now seems in order. Not one too heavy, as fall can still have its warmer days. Who doesn't love a cream based soup? True, cream creates a nice texture, and rich taste to anything it supports. But it's murder on the waist line. So what do you get when you add: Fall + Squash -Cream?
You get a healthier hearty version of a fall favorite. Since purchasing in season is great for the environment (you don't have to get food that has traveled thousands of miles to your grocery store), your health and most importantly for your pocket book...it's important to use as many seasonal ingredients as you can before mother nature naturally takes it away until next year.



With that said..I could not help but want to add some of the seasons last harvested red peppers to add to this perennial favorite dish. I think you'll enjoy this newer, healthier, take on an old fall standby. As a new addition to this site, to prove that I always have an eye for budget friendly meals, the cost of the ingredient will be adjacent to it (this does not include pantry item staples). Enjoy!

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Hearty Squash Soup with Red Pepper
serves 6-8
inspired by the Fannie Farmer Cookbook

2 cups Butternut Squash, mashed (about 1 medium sized squash).............$2.00 (at Farmers Market or FM)
2 Red Bell Peppers, sliced lengthwise...........................................................$3.00 (for 4 at FM)
1/2 small Red Onion, sliced lengthwise.........................................................$3.00 (for 8 at FM)
2 cloves Garlic, peeled................................................................. $.50 (for 1 bulb at FM)
5 cups Soy Milk....................................................................................... $2.75 (1 Quart Grocery Store)
4 tbsp Unsalted Butter
6 tbsp Wheat Flour
1-2 tbsp Sesame Oil
Salt
Pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Skin and dice the squash into medium size pieces. Coat the pieces with the sesame oil. Place the squash in the oven and let roast for 25-30 minutes until tender. Cooking times will vary based on ovens.

In the meantime, slice the red pepper and onion lengthwise, peel the garlic, and add the ingredients to a food processor and chop until fine. 

When the squash done roasting, add the roasted pieces to a bowl and mash with a masher. 

In a medium size stock pot on medium heat, add the mashed squash, red pepper, garlic, and onion combination, along with the soy milk. Stir. Allow the soup to cook initially for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally (in preparation for the next step below). Make sure that the contents of stock pot never come to a boil while keeping it on medium heat (if necessary lower the temperature of your stove if the contents start to come to boil). 

In a heavy based pot, melt the butter on medium low heat. Once the butter is melted combine the flour, and stir continuously and quickly for about 30-60 seconds. It will make a thick like dough substance. Quickly add about two ladles full of the soup from the stock pot to the butter and flour mixture. Stir together continuously for about one minute.

Add the contents of the heavy based pot to the squash soup in the stock pot. Stir continuously, making sure that the butter, flour, soup mixture dissolves into the contents of the soup in the stock pot. 

Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!
-Elle


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