Food & Drink

Keen on Cooking: Seasonal squash soup hits the spot and is gluten free

Roasted delicata squash soup, photographed at the home of Chelsea Keenan in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Roasted delicata squash soup, photographed at the home of Chelsea Keenan in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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All the rain these past few weeks have me in the mood for comfort food. And what better way to squash those cold, rainy day blues than with soup?

Soup is great for many reasons. Not only is it warm, filling and delicious, but you can make a big batch at the start of the week and reheat it later for an easy, quick dinner. It’s also a low-key meal to make. You generally can look around your kitchen and throw whatever is lying around into a pot with some broth and you’re good to go.

Because I’m reading and studying my life away in graduate school, let’s just say I’ve been eating a lot of soup.

Thanks to my CSA — community supported agriculture, where you pay a sum up front at the start of the season and receive shares of veggies each week from a local farm — we’ve still got veggies coming out of the wazoo.

Especially squash. We had so much squash — multiple varieties of squash — it was taking over huge swaths of our kitchen counter.

I roasted it all with some olive oil, salt and pepper before cooking it down with chicken broth, some spices, shallot and garlic. Oh, and maple syrup, which honestly might be what makes this recipe such a keeper. The result, a creamy and rich meal that even my squash-hating fiance would eat.

Added bonus: I got to use my immersion blender, which is just straight-up fun. A typical blender or food processor works fine, too.

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I finished the recipe off with vegan butter because I’m still living that gluten-free, dairy-free life, but something tells me if you added real butter, it’d be even better.

Top it off with some fresh ground pepper and parsley and your stomach will thank you.

Recipe

Squash Soup

Squash (about 3 pounds), halved vertically and seeded

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)

1 teaspoon salt

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Up to 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth

1 to 2 tablespoons butter, to taste (substitute vegan butter for dairy free/vegan soup)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the squash on the pan and drizzle each half with olive oil. Rub the oil over the inside of the squash and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Turn the squash face down and roast until it is tender and completely cooked through, about 45 to 50 minutes. Set the squash aside until it’s cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Then use a large spoon to scoop the squash flesh into a bowl and discard the tough skin.

In a large pot, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and cook stirring often, until the shallot has softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, stirring frequently.

If you’re working with an immersion blender: Add the squash to the pot, along with the broth, maple syrup, ginger and freshly ground black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Use your immersion blender to blend the soup completely, then add 1 to 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, to taste, and blend again.

If you are using a blender: Transfer the cooked shallot and garlic to your blender. Add the squash, maple syrup, nutmeg and a freshly ground black pepper. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth, being careful not to fill the container past the maximum fill line (you can work in batches if necessary, and stir in any remaining broth later). Blend until creamy.

Source: Adapted from Cookieandkate.com

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