September 27, 2010

Squash Soup for One

I love Italian food - pasta, risotto, patate e pepe. As you all know, I love dark chocolate, cupcakes (both cooked and raw) and well, anything sweet, really. However, when all is said and done, I still think my ultimate comfort food is soup. It's so versatile, so warm, so perfect for suddenly cold, rainy, dreadful days. In fact, the way I feel about soup is how most bloggers feel about oatmeal. So tonight I threw on my favorite t-shirt and got to making yet another bowlful of bliss.

Aromatic acorn squash and caramelized onion bisque

- 1/2 medium acorn squash
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp agave
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk*
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- S&P, to taste
- Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)

- Preheat oven to 375.
- Scoop out seeds and pulp from the squash. Place it cut side down on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until slightly tender. It shouldn't be completely cooked through because it will cook more in the pot.
- While the squash cooks, get started on the onions. Heat a skillet on medium-low heat and add olive oil and onions. Add a pinch of salt to help the onions release their juices. Cook, stirring every few minutes, for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add agave and stir to coat. Continue cooking for about 20 more minutes, stirring every few minutes, until onions are dark brown and caramelized. They should look like this:

I know I've posted about caramelized onions before, but I find them so beautiful (I'm odd) so I felt the need to post another picture.

- Once the squash is done, scoop out the flesh and set aside.
- Bring vegetable broth to a boil on a medium sized pot. Add squash, onions, cumin and cinnamon and once everything is boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until squash is very tender. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Once cooled for a few minutes, puree soup in a blender until it reaches your desired consistency. Add back to the pot, add milk and bring back to a boil. Simmer for at least 5 minutes or until ready to serve.

* You can sub plain non-dairy milk, but the vanilla works SO well in this. It fills the room with a slight vanilla scent but doesn't impart much flavor on the soup. It's very faint, but adds a little special somethin' somethin'.

Serves 1 hungry soup fiend

I know this soup seems like it has a lot of steps but it's totally do ahead! I cooked the squash and onions ahead of time, which made assembling the soup a lot easier. Next time, however, I WILL be making a bigger batch.

The flavors of this soup sound odd (onions, vanilla, cinnamon?!) but trust me, it was divine. The squash was nutty, the onions rich and sweet, and the spices added just enough to tie everything together. I would eat this by the truckload.

I'll never get tired of soup.


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