We don't have a garden. We live in an apartment, and our cats are such fearsome predators we can't even have houseplants. We know people who have gardens, though, and sometimes they share.
Most of the time, receiving a gift of fresh produce from someone who gardens is unmitigated wonderfulness. Once in a while, though, you think "This is so great. Now what am I going to do with it?" That's how I responded when I received this acorn squash:
|Cat: "This squash is so great . . . ."|
|". . . now what are we going to do with it?"|
I think winter squash in general is sort of meh. I cook with it, but I want to like it a lot more than I do. I tend to like the things it goes with -- sage, wild rice, beans 'n' corn, fruit -- more than I like the squash itself (exception: roasted delicata squash circles. Om nom nom). Acorn squash, in particular, seems like more trouble than it's worth. But I am not one to look a gift squash in the mouth. I let it age in the refrigerator for a couple weeks (one of the things I do like about winter squash is that it keeps well) while I contemplated how to use it. Then a recipe for winter squash and apple soup appeared in the local paper (warning: link includes non-vegan recipes).
This seemed like the perfect solution. The squash would be pureed and combined with apples, one of my favorite autumn foods. And the recipe looked easy to veganize.
The first step was to prep the squash. Last night I cut it in half, scooped out the seeds, rubbed the cut sides with a little olive oil, and baked it, cut sides down, at 375 degrees F for about 40 minutes.
|It actually looked and tasted pretty good when it came out of the oven. Mmmm, caramelized.|
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
About 1 T Earth Balance (or oil, or you could sautee in stock)
Flesh from 1 acorn squash, baked
3 lbs apples, cored and cut in big chunks
8 cups stock (I used the liquid I had saved from cooking pinto beans with onion and garlic)
2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
1 scant tsp salt
The original recipe called for both five-spice and curry powder. I thought that sounded terrible. I figured one or the other, not both, and I had some five-spice I'd made a while back and not used in a long time, so that's what I chose.
Saute the onion and garlic in Earth Balance. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, and simmer until the apples are soft. Puree in the pot with your handy dandy immersion blender (I should take a page out of Vegan By Proxy's book and do a MoFo post about how much I love this thing).
Verdict: It's very apple-y and not very squash-y, that's for sure. The effect is kind of a thinned down applesauce. It's a soup to be eaten in small portions. I'm not sure I would make it again, but I do like the flavor of apples and five-spice together, so maybe five-spice applesauce is in my future. I will say this: the acorn squash is completely camouflaged.
|It even looks like applesauce. Those green flecks are chives I threw in at the end.|
|Kitty says, mmm mmm good!|