Growing up, I did not eat a lot of squash. In fact, the only squash I can remember eating is zucchini. My mom may have tried to get me to eat more and I just don't remember, however, I think squash has just become more popular over the years with foodies, thus bringing it's appeal to a new level. The first time I made spaghetti squash it blew my mind. I mean, the name should have tipped me off to it's texture but I remember thinking 'Wow, it really is like spaghetti!'. My husband was not nearly as impressed. He and squash aren't super close friends, which is why I don't make it as often as I should.
For some reason though, he has bonded with acorn squash so I have been experimenting with it lately. I sliced and roasted it with maple syrup and pancetta for a Sunday supper with friends and that was a big hit, so I moved on to soup. After looking through books, magazines, and online, I was inspired and the finished product came out truly heavenly.
Roasted Acorn Squash Soup // Serves 4 - 6
1 large acorn squash
1 ½ - 2 tsp salt, divided
2 tsp ancho chili powder
¾ tsp smoked paprika
¾ c pecan halves
Fresh cracked pepper
4 c chicken broth
drizzle of honey
1/2 c shredded parmigiano-reggiano
2 bay leaves
Ancho chili pepper (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, with sharp knife, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon; discard. Place the halves, cut side up, on a small baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil - a teaspoon or so on each should do. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and a few pinches of ancho powder; gently rub the oil and spices in. Roast in hot oven for 40-45 minutes, until soft enough for a fork to go through. Keep your oven on!
Sprinkle pecans on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until fragrant and toasted; 6-7 minutes - it really depends on your oven so be sure to watch them!
Scoop out the flesh of the squash into the pitcher of a blender (I used my VitaMix and it worked beautifully!). Add in 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp ancho chili powder, 3/4 tsp smoked paprika, toasted pecans and cracked pepper.
Add chicken broth and blend until smooth. Add honey to taste; blend until desired consistency is reached. It will not be completely smooth as the pecans yield a wonderful hearty texture to this soup. Transfer soup to pot and set over medium heat. Add the parmesan and stir to incorporate; stir in bay leaves. Reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
For a bit of flair, you can drizzle a little cream on top - use a spoon to pour it on to control the speed or else it will sink to the bottom! Sprinkle with ancho pepper (a black pepper like consistency, not as sot as the ground ancho) . I served mine with some roast chicken and vegetables; for a side-dish it makes six 3/4c servings.
I hope you enjoy this soup as much as I did - it is amazingly smooth and creamy, without any cream! A perfect addition to any fall evening meal.
That's it for today, I so appreciate you checking in! Leaving you with a full heart and an empty plate -