Serves 4 to 6
Take advantage of the glut of harvest vegetables. Acorn, butternut, amber cup, autumn cup and even cooking pumpkins work well in this soup. Roast several at a time and freeze the flesh in 2-cup portions for easy use in casseroles and winter soups. This is such a simple soup—no sautéing, no long cooking on top of the stove. Simply roast the vegetables and combine with stock, blend, heat, and serve.
• 1 large squash (at least 3 pounds; see varieties above)
• 2 yellow onions, quartered
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Freshly ground salt and pepper
• 10 garlic cloves, peeled
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
• 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Arrange oven racks so that one is on the bottom shelf and the other is close to the top, which will allow both the squash and onions to bake at the same time. Using a fork or paring knife, prick the squash and place on a shallow baking dish or square of aluminum foil. Bake on the lower rack for 1 hour, turning once. Squash is done when a sharp knife inserted into the center meets no resistance. Let cool.
3. Meanwhile, toss onions and oil. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Grind salt and pepper over. Bake on the rack above the squash for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and stir. Add garlic cloves and sprinkle 1 tablespoon each of rosemary and thyme. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until onions and garlic are soft and golden brown (edges may be charred). Let cool.
4. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. (Save to toast later with salt and butter!) Using a spoon, scoop out half of the flesh and set aside. (You can puree and refrigerate to serve later with the flank steak or another entrée).
5. Scoop remaining half into food processor or blender. Add roasted vegetables; process until coarsely chopped. With motor running, add 1 cup of stock to blend the vegetables.
6. In a saucepan, combine the puree with vinegar and remaining herbs and stock. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Pat Crocker cooks bistro-style food with her favorite herbs every week. Her latest book, The Vegan Cook’s Bible (Robert Rose, 2009), is now available.
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