When the weather turns colder I start thinking soup. A few years ago I discovered pumpkin, squash and acorn as a great vegetable soup base. When I was a child, I hated pumpkin. It was something served as mushed up something, with sugar and honey. It tasted kind of gritty and I was thankful my Mom did not serve it often. I recently realized that roasted pumpkin, butternut squash and acorn have a wonderfully nutty, sweet flavor and pair very well with many different combinations of fall vegetables. This soup was inspired by something I had at a friends house last fall. I played around with different spices and made it my own.
For the soup:
1 Medium acorn or butternut squash
1 medium yellow onion roughly chopped
1 lb of white button mushrooms chopped
1 cup of celery chopped
2 springs of rosemary
4 springs of thyme
1 tbs of chopped fresh oregano
1 tbs of smoked paprika
1 tsp of cinnamon
2 cardamon pods crushed
4 tbs of olive oil
1 chilli in adobo
1 tbs of adobo sauce
5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the acorn into veges, remove the seeds. Drizzle with 1 tbs of olive oil, season with smoked paprika, cinnamon and cardamon and roast for about 1 hr or until fork tender.
When the acorn or squash is done, let it cool long enough to handle and remove the outer skin, leaving just the flesh, set aside. Pre-heat a large skillet, add the remaining olive oil and saute onions, celery and mushrooms until browned and tender. At the last 5 minutes add the chopped rosemary, oregano and whole thyme springs. Transfer the mushroom mixture and the acorn to a soup pot and add all of the stock, chopped up chilli and adobo sauce. I like this soup spicy, so if you want it a bit milder omit the chilli, but keep the adobo sauce, it gives the soup a great smoky flavor.
Simmer the soup for 20 min. Pure in a blender until smooth and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with croutons or cheese brittle.
Fornthe cheese brittle.
2 cups of coarsely grated Asiago or Parmesan. You can use any combination of hard, aged, salty cheese. An old sharped aged cheddar works great also.
Preheat the oven to 475F. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat spread the cheese into a thin layer. Bake for about 5 or 10 min, until the cheese is bubbly and browned a bit. Do not walk away these burn very quickly. Cool on a cooling rack. when the cheese brittle has cooled it will become, well .. brittle... Break apart and serve as a garnish for soups, salads and just a snack.
Enjoy, this spicy soup is meant to celebrate fall flavors and take a chill off a rainy day.