Thursday: Carnival Squash Soup from Cafe Lynnylu

So this time I found inspiration online, when trying to decide what to do with the carnival squash we still have left from our Fall CSA.  I stumbled upon (no, not officially using the site – just through judicious use of google) Cafe Lynnylu’s recipe, which I’ve edited below based on what we actually did:

Carnival Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 3 small to medium size Carnival Squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sliced onion
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
  • parmesan cheese

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cut tops off of squash and scoop out seeds, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast in oven about 45 minutes. When cool, scoop out flesh. Reserve.
  3. Saute onion in olive oil and add squash flesh and chicken broth. Cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Puree with hand immersion blender until smooth. Season with salt and white pepper. Add butter to smooth out soup. Stir in cream if desired. Top with parmesan cheese and fried sage leaves.

The Verdict:

Well… I’m gonna be honest: I was not in love with this soup as it was cooking.  Before we added the cream and the parmesan, it tasted like chicken broth slightly flavored with squash, or like really bad canned chicken soup.  I didn’t have high hopes for dinner at that point (PB&J was looming in our future).   Then, the miracle of dairy occurred.  I don’t understand how it works, but the heavy cream managed to smooth out the chicken broth flavor and turn it into an undertone, while bringing the squash’s earthy sweetness to the surface.  Parmesan added a counterpoint that was the perfect final touch in what ended up being a deep and complex flavor palette that I really enjoyed.  So here’s my advice: Do NOT skip the dairy.  This is not the recipe to decide to go vegan.  DO give the soup a chance – if I hadn’t been willing to try those final steps (that I really thought would just make the soup into cream of chicken with squash flavor), I would have ditched what ended up being a delightful dinner.

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