Nov 5, 2011

autumn, soup, and friday nights

I love autumn, so much so that I call it autumn rather than fall. I love it that it's dark by 5:30, and that if I want to go for a run after work I have to wear my geeky reflective vest. I love that the trees around portland look like they are on fire as their leaves change from green to gold, yellow, and orange. I love falling asleep to the sound of the rain, and the way autumn smells different than winter, spring, or summer.

I love seeing the piles of different oddly shaped winter squash at the grocery store, the way look like something out of a cartoon rather than a garden. I love the way the chill in the autumn air makes me want to come home and cook savory meals full of roasted vegetables and warm liquids simmered on the stove.

And Fridays, I love Fridays. Yes, it is the start of the weekend, and who doesn't love a weekend? But they are also nights where I can take my time. I don't have to rush to the gym, I get there, but I'm not racing from work, racing through my workout, and racing home to cram in dinner and studying. Instead, I get to enjoy each piece of the evening without wondering if I will have enough time for what I still have planned.

Last night I did just that. I came home from work, a roasted acorn and butternut squash soup recipe forming itself as I walked up the stairs into my apartment. A trip to the grocery store, admiring those wonky looking winter squash and imagining the soup they would become later that evening. A killer crossfit workout, followed by several hours of peeling, slicing, roasting, chopping, simmering, and pureeing, it was a wonderful autumn evening. And may I just say that, while I love to cook, I think I have yet to post a recipe because usually my recipes involve me going, "um...a little [pause to sniff what ever I'm making] coriander I think, and [pause to sniff again] maybe some...agave nectar." It's not that this recipe doesn't involve some of that, it's just that it's too good to forget. Therefore I will post it here, so that I can make it again, and you, if you want, can make it as well.

Roasted Acorn and Butternut Squash Soup*
Roasting the squash adds depth to the soup, so you don't need to add cream like a lot of squash soups call for.
  • 1 Medium acorn squash
  • 1 Medium butternut squash
  • 1 Purple onion
  • 1/2 A yellow onion
  • 2 T Olive oil, plus more for roasting the squash
  • 4–6 C Vegetable stock
  • 5 or 6 Cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 t Fresh thyme [if you don't have fresh, dried thyme is fine, but start with 1/4 t and add more if you need it]
  • 1/4 t Ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 t Ground cinnamon
  • A dash of chili flakes [more if you want it spicy]
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Halve and peel butternut squash, scoop out seeds. Cut into quarter inch thick slices. Place in glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Halve the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up in a glass baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the squash for about an hour, or until it's easily pierced with a fork. [My butternut squash was done before my acorn squash was, so I just took the butternut out and left the acorn in to finish. Don't worry about it getting cold, it warms back up when it gets thrown into the soup pot.]
  3. While the squash is roasting, chop the onions and mince the garlic. Saute in olive oil on medium low heat until onions are translucent. You don't want them to brown or burn, especially the garlic, that makes it bitter.
  4. When the squash is done, chop the butternut up into chunks, about an inch to and inch and a half in size, and scoop out the acorn squash. Put them in the pot with the onions and add four cups of vegetable stock.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a high simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, adding the thyme, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, and chili flakes. I used nutmeg cloves and grated it into the soup using my microplane grater rather than using ground nutmeg, though both would work just fine.
  6. Remove soup from heat and allow it to cool. Confession, I didn't do this. I never do. Even though every soup recipe tells you to. I'm sure there's something about it burning you, or melting your food processor or something that makes this a logical thing to do. So, if you want, allow your soup to cool a bit, and then puree the heck out of it, in batches. Obviously, if you like a chunkier soup then don't puree the heck out of it for quite so long.
  7. Return soup to stove, and add more veggie stock if you want a slightly thinner soup. I thinned mine out with two more cups of stock, and it's still pretty thick. Taste your soup, and adjust the spices as needed.
  8. Light some candles, wrap yourself up in a blanket on the couch, and enjoy.
*Don't get scared, but this soup is totally vegan. I know, who knew vegan soup could be so good?**

**I did. Vegan food is good, and you probably eat a lot of it without even knowing it. So stop thinking vegans*** are weird, and consider that not every soup has to be made with chicken stock.

***No, I'm not vegan, and you're right, some of them are a little weird.

5 comments: said...

I love you so much. And I love how much you love fall. Today I'm praying for a miraculous immunity to cold weather so that I can love fall as much as you!! Hahaha.


Haley said...

This soup would help you fall in love with it. Also it is Max friendly in that it doesn't have any gluten or dairy, and there are no white foods in it. Though he might be weirded out by squash. I don't know. :)

G Fresh said...

That sounds amazeballs. I'm gonna have to try that sometime.

Haley said...

G. You can ONLY make it if you promise never to refer to it as amazeballs again.

Joy Eggerichs said...

I would like to come over for said soup.