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A New Family Favorite: Delicata Squash Soup

For me, there are two things that define fall: taking my youngest two boys to college and a hearty soup. Maybe it’s from all those years sitting on bleachers cheering at their soccer games, but a soup in fall is a staple.

Butternut Squash soup has always been a family favorite and a store favorite. My guess is it’s the hint of nutmeg, welcoming and warm in its demeanor, that attracts people. A simple puree can really hit the spot. This season, I wanted to explore our squash horizons. At a recent stop to the Union Square Greenmarket, I picked up a Delicata Squash.

 

I was curious to see how the meat would hold up on its own. I wanted to give it a shot as the focal point of the soup. I took it home and chopped it up into cubes. To really test the structure and flavor, I roasted it with some olive oil.

 

 

The next task was to find its accessories. What I love about soup is its versatility; it can be simple or complex. It can stand alone as a meal or serve as an introduction to one... It’s the latter I wanted to focus on. I wanted a soup that would introduce the entree's flavors, complement the entree, and then be reintroduced at dessert. That also, of course, all spoke to the fall season.

I selected cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg as an ode to butternut squash soup. Similar to making the butternut soup, I sautéed a white onion and garlic using these spices, and adding ginger, turmeric, black pepper and coconut oil. To keep it vegetarian, I boiled some lentils in vegetable broth.

 

 

While the lentils were boiling and the onions were sautéing... the Delicata was about done. I couldn’t wait to try it before adding it to the mix. Alone, the Delicata is tender and sweet, offering a chewy caramelized skin. Tasting the Delicata on its own reminded me of an Acorn Squash Entree recipe I’d tried before. There, the Acorn Squash was chopped in half, seeded and coated with coconut oil, then roasted. When it was done, quinoa cooked in Thai Coconut Milk and was added along with feta, pomegranates and a plethora of other spices. I thought the milk would be a great substantive addition to the soup as it would enhance the squash. So I added it to the lentils!

 

 

The aroma of the onions and garlic in their spices filled the house- this would be great to have simmering on your stove as you welcome company for a dinner party. I finally combined all the standalone ingredients cooking on their own, stirred, and let sit for a bit. The result was a healthy, aromatic soup with chunky squash highlights. I am pleased to report that not only did the Delicata hold up as a substantive meat against all the added flavors; the more it sat, the more it seemed to have its natural sweetness enhanced to make a delicious dish.

 

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