It's a typical Spring day here in Portland. Rain, hail, wind, dark & cloudy, sun breaks, repeat. It's way too muddy to work in your garden. Perfect weather for soup making and baking. I'm using the end of the Winter squash I grew last Summer and have stored through the Winter. Today, I was disappointed to find the pumpkin, blue hubbard, and acorn squashes had mildewed & rotted where I was storing them. I was not being attentive, which is a shame considering I lugged a crate of these homegrown squash with me from apartment to apartment when I moved twice in December. Actually, I remember Catherine carrying my squash crate during both moves. Thanks buddy. The good news is the spaghetti squash and butternut both looked just dandy. Not bad for 6 months of storage. Way to go urban homesteader! So, that's what I used and built this soup recipe around them.
First, roast the squash in the oven until they are soft and browned. Add this cooked squash to sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabaga & parsnip. Fresh minced ginger root and coriander, tarragon & sage round out the flavors. It's important you use a "mild" vegetable broth in this soup. I find the Trader Joe's boxed vegetable broth way too strong and bitter. It overtakes any recipe you use it in. I prefer the Pacific natural foods brand vegetable broth or the "No Chicken" vegetarian broth by Imagine foods brand. Both have a much more delicate flavor that does the job without presenting a dominant flavor. I simmered this soup on the stove, because I was home for the evening. You could easily drop it in the crockpot in the morning and puree it in the evening when you return from work.
Lastly, today I am grateful for rain, as it waters all the delicious plant life in Portland. This is by far the greenest place I have ever lived, and I've lived a lot of places. I don't mind the rain and the hail. It doesn't depress me. Spring is marching on and with it comes all sorts of delicious seasonal treats. I am grateful that it's almost asparagus season. Around April we have a short 1 month window for local Asparagus harvest. I am dreaming up all kinds of new recipes to feature asparagus. I'm thinking cream of asparagus soup, asparagus quiche, asparagus in pasta salad, asparagus risotto. Maybe I'll even pickle & preserve some asparagus this year. I love asparagus! Following asparagus we'll have local harvest of fava beans, snap & snow peas, and shelling peas. I sure love a Spring Panzanella loaded with fresh peas. After that comes June bearing strawberries and the early blueberry varieties. I'm also grateful for my new community garden plot and eager to get my hands in some dirt after a long absence this Winter & early Spring. This new development was a very pleasant surprise I received this week. I thought I would not have a garden this year and I was completely heart broken. My brain is now all a buzz with what I'm going to plant.
So, my friends enjoy slurping your soup and enjoy your life. Stop to appreciate and enjoy all the little things you are grateful for. Give and receive as many hugs as you can today.
Miss Jolie Ann
Root Vegetable & Roasted Winter Squash Soup with Ginger
Makes 4 servings
2 winter squash of your choice--I used spaghetti & butternut
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion-chopped
1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 sweet potato-peeled & diced
1 rutabaga-peeled & diced
1 parsnip-peeled & diced
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp tsp dried tarragon
1 tsp dried coriander
2 cups vegetable broth (mild flavor, brand such as Imagine or Pacific)
2 cups water
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash the 2 squash. Slice each in half and scoop out & discard the seeds. (or save them to toast up later!). Place the squash face down in a shallow baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until squash is soft and browned around the edges.
3. While the squash is baking, prep your vegetables by washing, peeling and chopping as designated in the ingredients list.
4. Warm the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add the onions & a pinch of sea salt and saute for about 10 minutes.
5. Add 1/2 tsp of the minced ginger, (reserve the rest for later use), to the onions. Saute for a minute. Add the sweet potato, rutabaga, carrots, and parsnip. Stir. Add the sage, tarragon, coriander and stir. Saute over medium heat for another 5 minutes.
6. Add the vegetable broth and water. Cover the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer over medium heat covered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally to ensure soup is not sticking to the bottom of the pot.
7. Remove pot from heat and let cool down some. Before pureeing soup, add the remaining 1/2 tsp of minced fresh ginger. To puree the soup either use your immersion blender directly in the pot or puree in batches in your food processor. Either way, soup should not be hot when you do so or it will explode everywhere. After pureeing soup add some black pepper and sea salt. Check the flavor and add more sage, tarragon and coriander if desired.