Hubbard Squash Soup

This deep into winter, we’re starting to run out of the standard (in our house) local butternut squashes so have started braving some of the more exotic and storage-proof varieties. We got a hilarious 12 pound hubbard squash from our local food co-op (Idaho’s Bounty) a few weeks ago. That baby wasn’t gonna win any beauty contests (and I’m so sorry I forgot to take a picture of it so you could share in the giggles), but it turned out to be a tasty bugger! After a slightly ridiculous wrestling match with it and the butcher knife (again, wish there was a video for you), I got it in half and into the oven. I don’t have any hints for you on an easy way into these guys, but just consider it an efficient use of time–entertainment and exercise for the day while prepping dinner.

Ingredients:

6 cups hubbard squash flesh
12 cups broth (whatever your preference, veggie, chicken, etc)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil (for sautéing)
2 leeks, sliced
1 large bunch kale, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
roasted pumpkin seeds
kefir or crème fraiche (optional)

Once you get the squash in half, remove the seeds and roast it, open side down on an oiled baking sheet for an hour at 375 (or until the flesh is tender when you prick it with a fork). Once done, remove from oven and let cool slightly.

While the squash is in the oven, sauté the leeks in a large soup pot until tender.  Add kale and continue sautéing until wilted. Remove from heat until squash is ready.

When the squash is cool enough to handle safely, scoop flesh into a blender (enough to fill the pitcher about 1/3-1/2 of the way up). Pour several cups of broth in and blend. Add more broth as necessary to get the squash completely pureed and smooth. Pour into soup pot with leeks & kale. Repeat until you’ve pureed 6 cups of the squash. (There will probably be extra, depending on the size of your squash–you can either make a larger batch of this soup, or save it for other recipes… like quinoa patties for under veggie eggs benedict… recipe for that to come soon!)

Heat everything in the soup pot together and simmer until the kale is nice and tender. Add more broth if necessary to get your desired thickness for the soup. Sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds on top and drizzle with kefir (if you want) when you serve it.

Substitutions & Adaptations:

I tend to prefer foods with some texture and body, so while I puree the squash in this recipe, I leave the kale and leeks to provide some interest. If you prefer soups that are completely smooth, just throw the sautéed kale and leeks in with the squash when you puree it.

While I decided to make this version simple to let the squash flavor shine through, you could also add some fun warming spices (curry, cumin, coriander) to give it an Indian feel…

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