‘Tis the season for acorn squash! They’re cute, they’re compact, and they’re easy to roast and then use in soups, sauces, and even baked goods. They’re also easy to cut in half thanks to their firm ridges — those nice straight angles provide stability as you use a large, heavy knife to make a neat cut all the way through. (Rounded squash like pumpkins and butternut are a bit trickier.)
A friend recently bequeathed a bevy of acorn squash to my larder, so check back every week to see how I wind up using my bounty. Most of the recipes will start with roasting the squash — once it’s cooked and soft, it’s easy to scoop the flesh out of the ridged shell. For this recipe, I opted to leave the scooped-out squash in chunks; for other recipes, I puréed the squash into creamy smoothness. You could do that with this soup, too, if you’d prefer a smoother texture, but I wanted a soup that I could sink my teeth into … hence the chopped onions and sun-dried tomatoes alongside the scooped-but-unpuréed squash.
Feel free to make a double batch of the soup if you wish — like all broth-based soups (especially soups that include tomatoes), this sage-scented soup only gets better upon standing. How about whipping up a batch two days before Thanksgiving to wow your family? You could even double up on the squash and then leave half of it in its shell as an attractive and easy side dish.
Sage-Scented Acorn Squash Soup with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 4 as a hearty appetizer.
1 acorn squash
Handful sun-dried tomatoes
1 large Spanish onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups (32 oz.) chicken OR vegetable broth (try to get free-range chicken broth)
1 T. dried sage
Freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat oven to 375F and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, saving them if you wish to toast them later. Cut just a little bit off of the bottom of each squash half so that the halves have flat bottoms and will sit up nicely. Place them on the prepared tray and bake for 45 minutes or until the edges are browning and you can easily poke into the flesh with a knife. Remove from oven and let cool. This step can be done up to 4 days in advance.
While the squash cools, place the sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl and cover with boiling water. They can soften while you make the soup.
Heat a pat of butter or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes or until onions are quite fragrant and turning golden brown. Stir in garlic and cook for another minute to soften the garlic. Pour in broth and crumble the sage between your fingers before adding it to the pot. Grind in a pinch or two of black pepper and stir well. Drain tomatoes and stir them in.
Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. While the soup simmers, use a regular soup spoon to scoop the cooled squash out of its shells. Stir squash into soup and heat through for another minute or two. Season to taste with sea salt.
Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 days. Feel free to garnish with minced green onion. You might also like to top the individual servings with grated Cheddar or Parmesan. The more savory, the better!
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