Seasonal Squash

I love squash. I love its texture, sweetness, and most of all its versatility! Squash can by used in a myriad of ways. It can be chopped up and added to soups, stuffed with risotto or polenta, hallowed out and served full of soup, pureed and seasoned and used as ravioli or even a rustic tart! You don’t just have to roast it in the oven with brown sugar.

There are a great deal of types of squash, there are Danish, golden and white acorns, sweet mamas, butternuts, Hubbards and sweet dumplings. Each varies slightly in flavor and texture.

Now if you are having trouble getting your squash open, let me share a little trick. Go out to your porch hold the squash high above your head the slam it on to the ground! Not only will you get your squash open, you’ll get a little emotional release too! Just gather up the pieces and give a quick rinse if they get dirty.

I’ve included a great squash recipe for your fall kitchen, my Spiced Squash Bisque garnished with Crispy Seeds. Yum! I hope you love it as much as I do.

RECIPE
Spiced Squash Bisque
Makes 6 starter servings

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 1/2 cups (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and cubed winter squash (any type of sweet squash or pumpkin combination may be used; reserve 1/4 cup of seeds for Crispy Seeds)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely crushed
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, finely crushed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons salt (more or less depending upon whether you are using a homemade stock)
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup sour cream
Crispy Seeds (recipe follows)

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add squash, garlic, spices, bay leaf, and salt. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, partially cover the pan, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the squash is very tender.

Remove the bisque from the heat. Remove and discard bay leaf. In a blender or food processor, carefully purée the hot soup in small batches with the sour cream. (Be careful not to make your batches too large, since the soup is very hot.) Taste for seasoning and add salt as needed, especially if using homemade stock. Pour the puréed soup back into the pan and keep warm.

Divide the soup among warmed soup bowls. Sprinkle each serving with about 2 teaspoons Crispy Seeds.
For a vegetarian version: Substitute vegetable stock for the chicken stock.

Crispy Seeds
Makes 1/4 cup

1/4 cup seeds from squash
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375°F. Rinse the seeds under cold water to remove any squash flesh or strings. Drain well and measure. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, sugar, and salt and sprinkle over the seeds. Toss well and spread the seeds on a nonstick baking sheet. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until crispy and toasted.

Chef’s Tips:
For a fun and impressive presentation, thin out a small portion of sour cream with milk or cream until it is a “squeezable” consistency and put it in a squirt bottle. Swirl the top of each serving of bisque with the sour cream.

Recipe © from Dishing with Kathy Casey:, Sasquatch Books, Seattle.

Posted by Kathy on November 13th, 2008  |  Comments Off |  Posted in KOMO Radio, soups

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