I can’t remember the last time I made soup! It’s been unseaonably warm here, but finally day time temps have dropped into the crisp 70s, & evenings are getting chilly. I was even a bit cold in my bed last night. Is it time for a warmer blanket? Or perhaps hitting the pillow with a full belly of warm & satisfying soup? Mmmmm….
There was something “unusual” in my last CSA share, a rather large, bumpy bluish-grey…squash? I looked up the box contents to discover that I had received a “Blue Hubbard Squash.” This is what I love about being a CSA member, things that I might have easily overlooked at the farmer’s market, arrive on my door. Not one to let things go to waste & always up for a culinary exploration, I get excited when challenged by a new or unknown ingredient. So I did a little google searching to learn what this big guy was all about. Here is what I discovered…
“This popular New England squash usually has a gorgeous, gray-blue shell, with a fine-grained flesh that’s dry, somewhat mealy, & very flavorful ~ similar to sweet potato. Probably the largest squash you’ll find at the market, these teardrop-shaped behemoths are often sold in manageable chunks, so you can buy only what you need. They have thick skin that ranges from dark green to bluish gray & a dense orange flesh with a rich pumpkin flavor. It’s perfect for baking, pies, & soup. Roast bite-size pieces of Hubbard tossed with chopped fresh rosemary, olive oil, salt, & or roast squash halves with toasty spices like coriander, fennel, cumin, nutmeg, or curry powder & then mash the flesh.” (source)
Nutritionally, all squash varieties provide vitamin A & vitamin C, some of the B vitamins, iron, & are a good source of riboflavin & dietary fiber. Deep-colored squashes, like the flesh of the blue hubbard, have the most beta carotene. Autumn & winter squash are a seasonal favorite around here, so I was excited about this new discovery! As I considered the many options before me ~ roasting, mashing, stuffing, etc., as I was leaving the yoga studio a few nights ago, the nip in the air sealed the deal…a perfect evening for putting a warm pot of soup on the stove.
I did some more googling & found a Blue Hubbard Squash Soup from Far Away that looked fairly simple & easy to veganize. (I love how the author called the squash a “Gothic Cinderella Gourd,” ha! It totally is!). Fortunately, I had most of the needed ingredients on had & some cashews already soaking for a different recipe. I made a cashew “heavy” cream to substitute in place of the dairy, subbed leek for onion, added some garlic & fresh thyme, used veggie broth instead of chicken & omitted the flour & brandy. I decided to cook the veggies in some ghee (learn more about the ghee I use & its benefits), but coconut oil would be a great vegan alternative & I imagine the subtle coconut flavor would be delicious. The result was a velvety smooth & delectable soup. Such a perfect way to kick off autumn/winter soup season!
- 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight
- 3 Tbsp. ghee, or coconut oil
- 3 small carrots, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 leek, washed thoroughly & chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 leaves of fresh sage, minced
- 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from stem
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ tsp. cayenne
- 2 cups blue hubbard squash puree
- ½ cup cashew cream
- 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- sea salt & pepper
- To make cashew cream: soak cashews overnight, rinse & drain. Add soaked cashews & one cup filtered water to a high speed blender & blend until smooth.
- Quarter, seed & roast the squash at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until tender.
- When cool, scoop out the flash & puree in a food processor, Depending on the size of the squash, should yield 2-4 cups (mine made a little over 2 cups).
- In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt the ghee or coconut oil & cook leeks, garlic, carrots & celery over medium heat, until softened, about 10 mins. Add sage, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne, & salt & pepper to taste.
- Stir in the squash & cashew cream.
- Add vegetable stock, & cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat. Blend with an immersion blender for a smooth & creamy bisque.
- Top with a dollop of cashew cream, fresh herbs & spices.
Oh, my so warm & yummy! I topped my soup with a generous dollop of cashew cream, some more fresh herbs & sprinkle of smoked paprika to give it a kick. Served alongside some rustic, crusty bread & a green salad & this makes for a wonderful autumn meal.
Soups up! Enjoy.