Dark green, yellow, or gold acorn squash are among winter's best vegetables, with their sweet, rich, nutty flavor. This comforting soup can start off a holiday meal or be served on its own on a cold winter evening.
3 pounds/1.35 kg acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch/2.5 cm cubes
Salt to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
1 leek (white part only), roughly chopped
1/2 medium white or yellow onion, roughly chopped
6 cups/1.5 L chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 fresh sage leaves
Parmesan cheese, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC (Gas Mark 5). Lightly oil a baking sheet.
Place the squash onto the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until soft. Set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, leek, and onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent. Add the broth and cook for 30 to 35 minutes, uncovered, until the carrots are soft. Add the squash and cook for 5 more minutes. Add the white pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
Transfer the soup to a blender and puree in batches if necessary, then return the pureed soup to the pot. Or, use an immersion blender and puree the soup in the pot.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sage leaves and fry until the leaves turn dark green, about 2 minutes. Serve hot, garnished with crispy sage leaves and a sprinkling of Parmesan.
Note: If you can't find acorn squash, butternut will work in a pinch.
Serves 6 to 8
Exerpted with permission from I'm Dreaming Of a Green Christmas: Gifts, Decorations, and Recipes that Use Less and Mean More (Chronicle Books)