Dinner is late tonight …
… but only because I decided last night to throw together a loaf of my favorite home-made bread, and it needed a couple hours resting time between shaping and baking.
Dinner itself, on the other hand, was a practically fast food, even though it was made from scratch.
Winter squash and roasted garlic were made for each other, and this easy winter soup (a simpler variation on one that was the subject of my very first post on this blog) combines the two in a bowl of delicious, creamy, savory-sweet goodness .
The original recipe calls for whole squash – butternut, acorn or even a small pie pumpkin – peeled, seeded, cut in chunks and roasted until tender and then pureed before combining with stock and roasted garlic. Which I don’t mind doing … but last summer I was smart enough to pick up a few cans of gorgeous, canned organic squash puree from Stahlbush Island Farms. I almost passed it by – after all, it was summer, and the farmers’ market was full of fresh produce; the thought of buying canned seemed almost redundant.
But I’m very glad I stopped at their booth, because the purees are terrific, besides being incredible time-savers. If they return to our market next season, I plan to stock up.
So while the bread dough rested, I put the garlic on to roast and caught up on my blog-reading. When the loaf went in the oven, I put the soup on to simmer. When the bread was done and cooling enough to handle, I threw together a simple salad of beautiful baby greens from Cinco Estrellas Farm in Junction City, topped with a bit of goat cheese from Fraga Farm in Sweet Home, two of the vendors taking part in the wonderful new Corvallis Local Foods online market that’s been supplying probably 75 percent of my food for the last few weeks.
The result: A dinner both simple and sophisticated, and utterly satisfying.
Easy Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic
- 1 head garlic
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups pureed winter squash (butternut, acorn, pumpkin, whatever you prefer)
- 1-2 cups good stock (depending on how thick you like your soup). I used rich homemade stock from my Christmas duck, but chicken or vegetable stock is fine.
- 1 tsp curry powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Sour cream, creme fraiche or plain yogurt to garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F. Rub the outer papery husk off the garlic without separating the cloves. Using a sharp knife, cut off just the tips of the pointy end to expose the garlic. Place in an ovenproof ramekin or very small baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until garlic is soft and caramelized. Allow to cool.
In a large saucepan, combine squash puree and stock. When the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze the cloves into the soup. Add curry powder and/or cayenne, if you like it. Turn heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Taste; add salt and pepper if you want it. Ladle into bowls and swirl a spoonful of sour cream, creme fraiche or yogurt onto the surface (unless you prefer a vegan soup).
Makes about a quart of soup; the number of servings depends on whether you’re using it as a starter or the whole meal. Serve with crusty bread, a green salad and a nice glass of wine. Count your blessings.