Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Squash bisque

The first step of a soup recipe is to collect scraps for the broth over the course of a few weeks. For a vegetable bisque, good scraps include celery, onions, leeks, carrots, fennel, and cheese rinds. Keep a few zip-lock bags in the freezer for different soups (we have three very full bags of mussel shells for a bouillabaisse later this week).

In the morning on soup day, empty the frozen stock bags into a large pot, and barely cover with warm water. Add some whole peppercorns, two dried bay leaves, and some celery seed. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer covered for an hour. Then remove from heat and let it continue to cook itself while it cools.

Also in the morning, halve two acorn squashes and discard the seeds. Peel eight cloves garlic, and place the squash halves face-side-down on an ungreased cookie sheet, with two cloves garlic set inside each half. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, and let cool.

Shortly before dinner time, peel and slice three small white onions, and sauté in the bottom of a large sauce pan with a wooden spoon; sauté with some salt and olive oil and cook until translucent. Turn the heat to low and add the roasted garlic, mashing it with the back of the spoon, and also scoop the flesh of the roasted squash out and mash into the garlic-and-onions. Set a sieve over the squash pot, and carefully pour in vegetable broth until the pot is mostly full. (You can freeze any remaining broth — be sure to use either a plastic tuperware or a freezer-safe jar, e.g. the wide-mouth pint-sized mason jars.) Stir the soup to distribute the squash, and add lots of salt to taste. Then turn up the heat to bring the soup to a boil.

Let the soup cool some before serving, and meanwhile slice up a loaf of bread and open a bottle of wine. Bon appétit.

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