Monday, December 01, 2008

In Season: Souping It Up

First, a confession. I can only handle about half an hour in a mall before my eyes glaze over and I start drooling and babbling incoherently. In fact, it's so bad that my friends are trained to guide me to the exit at the first signs of VOS (visual overstimulation).

So when I went to the farmers' market a couple of weeks ago, as usual, my brain started whirling with possibilities. A chiffonade of lacinato kale salad with salt and lemon. Apple crisp with eau de vie-soaked currants. A medley of roasted root vegetables served alongside roasted chicken.

But it was the stunning color of the Musquée de Provence squash (top photo) that pushed me over the edge and into a full-blown attack. With a burnished copper skin and its flesh a deep orange-red, this squash was going to find its best and highest use as a main course for dinner that night (left), though its fabulous color would also make a gorgeous side dish chunked and drizzled with sage butter.

See what I mean about the VOS? Fortunately, all it took in this case was the application of a fresh berry tart from the stand across the aisle and I was on my merry way.

Roasted Squash Soup with Lime Creme Fraiche
Adapted from From the Earth to the Table: John Ash's Wine Country Cuisine

For the soup:
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter or margarine
3 c. yellow onions, chopped
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
3 c. squash, roasted
6 c. chicken or vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. Madras curry
1 Tbsp. honey
1 c. half-and-half or heavy cream (I substituted 1 c. tofu sour cream)
3 Tbsp. dry sherry
Salt and pepper to taste

For the creme fraiche:
1 c. creme fraiche (or tofu sour cream)
2 tsp. lime zest, finely grated
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and sauté the onions and ginger until very soft but not brown. If using a food processor, transfer the onion-ginger mixture and the roasted squash to the processor and process till smooth, in batches if necessary, then add remaining soup ingredients. If using an immersion blender, stir together the onions, squash and remaining soup ingredients and blend until smooth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To make the creme fraiche, in a medium bowl mix the creme fraiche, lime zest and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour for flavors to develop.

Ladle the soup into warm soup bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of the lime creme fraiche.

Photo of Musquee de Provence squash from I Love Farms.


Cathy said...

What a great recipe for squash soup. The curry - sherry - lime combination sounds wonderful. I've never seen this variety of squash. Portland Market?

Kathleen Bauer said...

It's got a fairly light curry flavor that's found in some Indian cooking from the British colonial period. And the lime gives it that great citrus-y tang.

I got this squash at the Hillsdale market from Anthony and Carol at Ayers Creek. In a brilliant stroke of marketing genius, he sells it by the slice/chunk so you're not stuck with trying to figure out what to do with a whole one, which can weigh upwards of 20 lbs. I'm sure someone at the downtown market must have some...apparently they're not that uncommon.

Mary Bergfeld said...

I, too love the curry, sherry combination. This soup is a stunner.

Kathleen Bauer said...

This would also work with any thick-fleshed squash, like butternut, acorn, etc. And my brother just posted a Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup recipe that I'm itching to try. Yum!