Intro: Winter Squash-Veggie Soup (w/ Variations)
To me, soups are a personal thing. The flavor combinations are endless and beautiful.
This is one of my favorite soups. I've added a few variations, too - to help make it one of yours.
Comments, suggestions and of course -ratings and votes- are greatly appreciated!
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
3 medium sized fresh Acorn Squash
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
1 1/2 quarts water
1 lemon squeezed
2 cups each frozen peas, sliced carrots and sliced summer squash
1) 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Dash of black pepper
1 Tablespoon vegetarian soup base
For Acorn squash: Your favorite winter squash, about 3 cups cooked or 2) 12 oz. packages frozen winter squash
For fresh garlic: 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
For fresh lemon: 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
For frozen veggies: Fresh peas and carrots may be substituted. Fresh summer squash may not hold up well.
For canned tomatoes: 4-6 fresh chopped Roma or paste type tomatoes, covered in tomato juice.
For vegetarian soup base: Chicken base may be used.
Step 2: Prepare Squash
Note: If substituting frozen squash, skip to step #4.
Slice squash in half. Use a fork to 'score' the membrane for easier removal. Use a spoon to remove membrane and seeds.
Step 3: Steam the Squash
Place squash in a glass dish and fill half way with water. Place lid on top.
If using a roasting or cake pan, place squash cut-side down and add water to half way mark, cover with foil.
Place in moderate 350 degree F. oven for 45-60 minutes.
Step 4: Chop Onions ...
Sprinkle olive oil in skillet over med-high heat.
Chop onions easier by first slicing onion in half.
Next, slice lengthwise as in photo.
Then while holding it together, slice onion crosswise.
Add to skillet.
Step 5: And Garlic.
Crush garlic with the heal of your hand pressing down on the knife.
Peel. Slice thin, then chop.
Add to skillet.
If using garlic powder, skip this step and add with other spices.
Step 6: Saute
Saute the onions and garlic until the onions start to become clear and slightly browned.
This step brings out the flavor of the onions.
Step 7: Crush the Tomatoes
Add 1 1/2 quarts water to a stock pot.
Drain the juice from the canned tomatoes into the pot.
Crush the tomatoes by hand, or by slicing in the can. Add.
Step 8: Squeeze Lemon
Squeeze the juice of one whole lemon.
Lemon 'brightens up' the flavors of the other ingredients.
Step 9: Let's Make Soup!
Strain the lemon juice over the pot to remove any seeds.
Add frozen veggies, garlic and onions, and spices.
Add the soup base and simmer, stirring occasionally.
Step 10: Prepare the Squash
Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool.
Carefully vent any steam, as it will be hot!
You can do this while you are performing the previous steps.
Or, for faster cooling, run under cool water.
If using frozen squash, add now and skip the next step.
Step 11: Scoop Squash
When the squash is cool enough to touch, scoop it from the peel with a spoon.
Add to soup pot.
Step 12: Simmer the Flavors
Simmer over low heat for as long as possible, or at least 2 hours.
I prefer to make ahead and reheat the next day.
Note: If you are making ahead, substitute half the squash for frozen and hold back on it.
Add this at the end to help cool the soup down faster, before refrigerating.
Step 13: Variations
~ Top w/ grated Parmesan or Romano Cheese
~ Vary the frozen veggies as your taste prefers- consider green and red peppers, celery and corn
~ For a more Southwestern flavor, substitute the lemon juice w/ lime and add 1 teaspoon each Cilantro and Cumin in place of Oregano
~ Add a few drops of hot sauce, or saute some hot peppers w/ the onions
~ Add sauteed mushrooms instead of summer squash, and use beef soup base
My personal favorite is adding some grated cheese and a little hot sauce. Mmmm.