Thursday, August 31, 2017

Squash soup


2 pounds of squash cut in squares 
2 big potatoes
1 carrot
4 celery sticks  
1 red, or orange pepper
1 medium onion
Half a teaspoon crushed hot red pepper/chili 
1 small bay leaf 
8-10 medium basil leaves or 1/2 tsp of dry basil
Fresh parsley to garnish
Salt and pepper 
2 liters of water
8 oz (225 g) heavy whipping cream 


This is not a Romanian recipes, but it can be adapted to Romanian squashes (what we call dovleacel). I discovered this wonderful kind of soup in the United States, and not long after I learned just how many delicious varieties of winter squash there are in this country, each with their own distinctive characteristics that make it hard to choose just one favorite. But that actually makes winter squash soup all the more delightful - you can choose a different variety of squash each time and never get bored!

Take the squash (in this case I used butternut, but turban and other varieties of winter squash also work well), cut it in half, and remove the seeds and stringy parts from inside, discarding them. Cut the rest into squares (roughly 5"x5") and cook them in the microwave (in mine it is 6 minutes per square of squash, but different microwaves will require different cooking times). If you have room, you can cook the two potatoes at the same time.

If you do not have a microwave, you can do this step in a regular oven at high temperature for an hour or so.

Chop the vegetables, then combine all the rest of the ingredients except for the cream and fresh herbs in a pot with a capacity of at least 4 liters. Boil them. I use a pressure cooker because it is faster - this step can be done in 5-10 minutes including cooling time. 

When the squash and potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool off. Scoop out the soft parts, leaving the peels behind, and mash them with a potato masher or similar utensil. 

When the vegetable stock is finished cooking, put it in the blender to turn it into a cream. Then combine the creamy stock and the mashed squash and potato back in the large pot. Add the cream and the fresh basil and parsley (chopped).