Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Acorn Squash and Pumpkin Soup

One of the joys of getting vegetables delivered to my door is that I have no choice regarding what I get. Sound like a bad thing? Let me explain. Choice can be debilitating. Almost everywhere in the US, consumers are faced with an abundance of choice at the grocery store. Just stroll down your local supermarket and see how many varieties of ice cream are sold, as a simple example. Our abundant food choices also includes several "easy" options that we can choose almost without thinking. This category includes fast food, ready made supermarket food (the soup and salad bar.. frozen dinners) and restaurant food. Going down this road does not take much effort (it does take money, but with credit cards it is easy to forget finances when hunger strikes).

So choice really throws a wrench in my meal planning. I can imagine thousands of possible meals, with thousands of possible ingredients. If I am making the trip to the store myself, I look up recipes, pick a few, list the ingredients and then check to see which store has the best deal for my purchases. Ultimately, this translates into A LOT of prep work, read: time. Juggling work and school and food, time is not something I can afford to waste.

Home delivery, on the other hand, eliminates the kabillion ideas in my head, and forces me to consider a simpler set of problems: what can I do with acorn squash? How do I prep purple cabbage? One veggie at a time, I look for recipes that suit what I have, instead of going to the store to buy ingredients. As a bonus, this has saved some valuable real estate in my spice rack (as you can imagine, with all of the spices required for Indian cooking, my collection is quite extensive), because I don't buy a whole jar of spice for just one recipe.

This soup was the product of this deductive approach to cooking. I got an acorn squash in my grocery delivery. I had a decorative mini pumpkin. Now what?

I was actually dissatisfied with my search for acorn squash recipes; I wanted something savory and not sweet. But I did pick up some great tips: cut the squash in half, scoop out the stringy stuff and the seeds, and microwave cut side up with a bit of water. I zapped both the pumpkin and the acorn squash together for about 15 minutes. I was able to use a spoon to scoop the fleshy cooked squash and pumpkin from the tough rind. The skin separated fairly easily when the squash was well done.

This soup recipe is my personal adaptation of a recipe for sweet potato soup. It is yummy.

2 cups cooked squash
1/4 cup diced onion
1 and 1/2 cups vegetarian broth
2/3 cup skim milk
1 and 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp Chinese 5-spice
salt to taste
green onion to garnish (optional)
Brown onions in oil with salt and pepper. Add cooked squash mix (from cooking method above), vegetable or chicken broth, Chinese 5 spice, and mustard. Heat through. Spoon the mixture into a food processor or blender, add milk, and process till smooth. Varying the amount of milk will alter the thickness of the soup, so use your personal preference as a guide. Ladle into bowls and serve with green onions and grilled cheese sandwiches.


  1. oh that sounds yummy! its definitely soup season now, I'll have to try this variation of the sweet potato soup!

  2. It's official -- you inspired me to sign up for Green Grocer! Also, this soup looks ridiculously good.

  3. Yay! I am so glad-- let me know how you like it!