Friday, January 7, 2011

Peredur vs Squashzilla

Banana squash - the behemoth of the squash family. Known for taking on entire armies and feeding them all!
Kat and I had a mammoth sized pink banana squash in the basement for the past couple of months and I finally decided that it was time to take up the gauntlet and create a very large pot of squash soup. Besides, I just got all sorts of new kitchen toys - including the top thing on my list, an immersion blender! - and I was dying to use them. 

Squashzilla done been kilt!
The first task at hand was to slay the giant. It put up quite a fight but, in the end, I was able to overpower it. Using a large chef's knife, I kilt the squash!

Secondly, I needed to bake the squash. Oh, I suppose I didn't actually need to bake it but I kind of prefer it to boiling. I hacked the squash, now dead, into 4 (still very large) pieces. I baked them at 350° for about 50 minutes or so, until the meat was tender. I removed it from the oven and cut it into pieces, discarding the skin.

At this point, I decided to roast the seeds. The seeds for this squash are, as you can imagine, huge! They are plump and fat and just screaming out for someone to roast them! I rinsed off the seeds real well, just as I would do with pumpkin seeds. I generously covered them with:
2 T kosher salt
2 t garlic powder
2 t cumin powder
1 t onion powder
1 dried Dundicut chili pepper, ground with a mortar and pestle (I just happened across these little peppers at a store the other day. They are extremely hot. You may use chili powder instead.)
Toss the seeds with the seasonings and bake at 300° for about 45-60 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes or so. Roast them until they get a nice dark golden color. Yum!

Anyway, back to the soup. I did not use fresh onion or garlic this time because I was using a quart of homemade turkey broth. I usually make my broth rather strongly flavored and didn't think I would need too much more onion or garlic, opting to use a small amount of powdered instead.

Taking out my favorite stock pot (which turned out to be barely big enough to hold the monster), I combined:
1 qt homemade turkey stock
6 c water
about 8-10 c roasted squash meat
1 T ground sage 
1 T brown sugar
2 t kosher salt
2 t allspice
1-1/2 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder
1 t thyme
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t ground cardamom 
Gently bring the soup to a simmer and cook over low-medium heat for about 20 minutes or so to let the flavors combine. Using an immersion blender, carefully blend the soup until it is creamy and there are no chunks of squash. Reduce the heat to low and add:
1 c white wine
Stir in the wine and then slowly add:
2 c milk or half-and-half
Stir well. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve topped with:
grated Asiago cheese
chopped parsley (optional)
The soup turned out fabulous, the Asiago really adding a lot of character to the mildly sweet flavor of the squash and spices. If your soup doesn't come out thick enough, for whatever reason, you might also consider mixing the cheese right into the soup!

A tasty New Year to all!

1 comment:

  1. That's a mighty squash you have there. Don't drop it or it could break a toe.