Enter the immersion blender. I received one as a wedding gift and have been oh-so-glad that I did. This little All-Clad beauty has been wonderful for me. I've been able to make salsa's, sauces, soups, puree's, and instand hot chocolate with it. You could use it for smoothies, milk shakes, etc, but I have a Magic Bullet for those.
Anyway.... I was grocery shopping this week browsing the produce section after I procured everything on my list and my eyes fell upon their squash cart. The acorn squashes seemed to fling themselves at me saying "Eat me! Eat me! Pick me!!!! I want to go home with you!" So I made my impulse by for the day (I allow myself one per shopping trip) and went on my merry way. Yes, I impulse bought a vegetable.
I thought about what I could do with it, and was vaguely dreaming of a gorgeously grilled or baked whole squash with sweet whipped cream and rich maple syrup.... THEN reality slapped me in the face and reminded me that I HATE the starchy, stringy, slightly gritty taste that squashes, gourds, or pumpkins can get when cooked, but not mashed or purred. So, I quickly dismissed my notion of eating it whole and decided to turn it into a soup. My immersion blender plus the slow cooker made this super quick and fairly easy. I got home from work and was eating fresh, homemade soup less than 15 minutes later.
This soup is savory, rich, and very satisfying. It's thick and smooth, but is a great base if you wanted thin it down and add a slew of meats and veggies. It's also pretty easy, with basic ingredients. I like it in the summer because I cook my squash in the slow cooker rather than heat up my oven. This also allows me to purred it directly in the slow cooker and keep it warm if needed.
For now though, I give you my most recent masterpiece: Savory Acorn Squash Soup
1 acorn squash
1 cup chicken broth
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
salt to taste
Place chicken broth and garlic in slow cooker. Cut top off squash, deseed, and place in slow cooker. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until all flesh is soft (test my inserting fork - there should be no resistance).
Remove squash onto place, scrape out all the flesh (THIS IS HOT!!! Use tongs, forks, spoons, whatever - but not your fingers!) and place it back in the slow cooker. Add milk and blend until totally smooth using soft up and down movements.
|The dishes you see were the only ones I used. For me, this is an impressively limited amount of|
clean up - the slow cooker, plate, and a few utensils. It's really half the reason I love this soup.
Add cream and salt, and mix just until blended (you don't want to whip it). Taste, salt as needed.
Serve with grated cheese, bacon bits, parsley, or pepper.
|Shown with parsley, Jarlsberg, Cheddar, and Swiss Cheese|
Serves 2-4 (Two for a main dish, 4 for sampler/starter sizes)
p.s. not all squashes are created equal. If you use a different squash/gourd, this will taste different. Feel free to swap out different squashes, or use a combination, but be warned!