RECIPE TITLE "Winter Squash Soup with Cinnamon, Cloves and Mint "
Author: Deborah Madison from the book The Savory Way Copyright 1997
Makes about 11/2 quarts---easy
- 2 pounds such dense winter squash as buttercup, perfection, kabocha or butternut
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
- 12 coriander seeds
- 12 peppercorns
- 2 cups milk or light cream
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
- 8 cloves
- 1 small handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 jalapeo pepper or 2 small dried red chiles, seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 teaspoons each finely chopped mint and cilantro for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half using a cleaver or heavy chef's knife; scoop out seeds. Brush surfaces lightly with oil, place them face down on cookie sheet and bake until soft and tender, 30-45 minutes depending on type of squash used. (Soft squash will give off a watery, sweet liquid that also can be used in the soup. If cooked squash sits for awhile, it will reabsorb the liquid.) When squash is cooked and cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh.
While squash is baking, make an infusion with herbs and milk: First lightly crush coriander seeds and peppercorns, then put it saucepan with milk or cream, cinnamon, cloves, mint leaves and chiles. Heat mixture slowly, but turn off heat just before milk comes to boil. Let stand until needed.
Melt butter in soup pot and add onion and salt lightly. Gently cook onions until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add squash and 1 quart water. Bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer until squash is broken up, about 25 minutes.
Pass soup through a food mill or blend briefly, leaving as much texture as you like. Return soup to stove and add milk, pouring it through a strainer. Taste for salt. Gently reheat soup, but do not allow it to boil. Serve garnished with chopped mint and cilantro.
Squash soups tend to thicken as they sit. If this happens, thin with additional milk or water.
Variation: Make a squash pure by baking squash as above and make an infusion with the spices and 1 1/3 cups milk, half-and-half or cream. Let milk sit at least 30 minutes and then strain it and reheat. Scoop out cooked squash and beat with 2 tablespoons butter and seasoned milk or cream. Add salt to taste and serve. Two pounds of squash will yield about 2 cups cooked.
Nutrition data, per 1-cup serving: Calories 293 (68 percent from fat); fat 22.1 g (sat 12.5 g, mono 7.4 g, poly 1 g); protein 4 g; carbohydrates 23 g; fiber 5.43 g; cholesterol 64 mg; sodium 539 mg; calcium 165 mg.
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