As the rain drizzled down the old glass pane windows and pattered upon the sweet cedar smelling rooftop of our A-frame cabin, the gloomy day in the NH forest seemed a bit brightened after being comforted by a warm cup of herbal tea, curled up on a couch with a good book. The only thing that seemed missing from my perfectly rainy day was a nice hot bowl of a good hearty soup, and of course nothing could be more fitting on such a Fall day than some local fresh squash soup. Seriously, does this sky look like it’s going to be forgiving anytime soon?
One great thing about the Autumn here in New Hampshire is the plethora of farm stands on every roadside. During our holiday we bought as much of our produce from local farm stands that we found as we could. I had originally had it in my head that I wanted to use the squashes themselves as the soup bowls, but that turned out not to go with the way the soup evolved. This soup took a bit of time (especially without electricity to use fancy advanced things like, oh say, a hand mixer), but oh was this worth it – roasted buttercup squash, sweet apple ham steak, and white beans were the hallmarks of this delicious soup. I had never had buttercup squash before, but it is really rich and sweet, similar but not quite like a butternut squash. You could puree the squash if you want to to have a smoother soup, but this time I preferred to have it a bit more heterogeneous, with some yummy bites of actual squash as you ate the soup. I have a feeling this will be a great one to repeat again this season and throughout the winter!
Also submitted to – Friday Foodie Fix
Prep Time: 1hr for chopping and roasting vegetables
Total Time: 1 1/2 hrs
For the veggie broth:
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- ½ onion, chopped
- 4 c. water
For roasting the squash:
- 4 buttercup squash (or your favorite type of squash), about 9 lbs.
- olive oil
For the rest of the soup:
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb. sweet ham steak (I used an apple maple flavored ham), cubed
- 2 c. (1 can) white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ c. parsley, minced
- thyme, sage
1. Prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 350F. Slice the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds/inside. If you want to roast the seeds (which I always do because fresh toasted seeds are awesome), then save them so you can rinse and dry and roast them.
2. Place the squash halves rind side down on a large pan, drizzle olive oil over and sprinkle with salt/pepper. Roast for a good hour, until the squash is softened.
3. Meanwhile, start the veggie broth. Add carrots, celery, onion, thyme, salt/pepper and water to a pot, and let simmer while the squash roasts.
4. Once squash is done roasting, scoop out the squash meat (I just used a spoon) and add to a large pot. Mash the squash, using a rudimentary potato masher by hand if you don’t have electricity on your vacation, or a hand mixer if you do, haha. Gradually add about 3 cups or so of broth to the squash while mixing.
5. Add ham, beans, and herbs to the soup, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about an hour or so, adding more broth if necessary. It shouldn’t be a very liquidy soup, but not as thick as a chowder.
6. Serve hot, and garnish with parsley.