For me, soup is the archetypical comfort food. There is nothing more cosy that a warm and soothing cup of soup. It can be a light dinner with a salad and some bread. It can be the start of a delicious journey through chapters of culinary masterpieces. I often judge a restaurant based on the soups they serve, which is not always easy to do when so many restaurants ruin a perfectly good vegetable soup with chicken stock. Luckily, here in California, they are accustomed enough to vegetarians to use vegetable stock as the base of almost all non meat soups.
There used to be this restaurant in the town I lived a few years back called Fork. It had the best Carrot Bisque that I have ever tasted. I loved this soup, and would come to the restaurant just to relish it. It did not hurt that they also had an early bird prix fix for $25. 3 courses….for $25…for fine dining! I mean I think they had a 24 or 25 Zagat rating. Can you imagine? Sadly they have since gone out of business. It’s been years, and I still pine for this soup.
Well today a good friend of mine needed some special comfort, so I made her family dinner and it included this soup. I am so thankful I made a large pot, as I have decided it is my new favorite soup! My family devoured it for dinner as well.
Acorn Squash Soup with Roasted Garlic
2 acorn squash
1 TBS olive oil
1 bulb of garlic
2 TBS olive oil
1 leek, diced
1 small yellow onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
1 TBS maple syrup
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black or white pepper
1/4 cup creme fraiche
Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Salt and pepper the squash. Place the olive oil on a sheet pan and spread the squash in the oil cut side down. Roast your acorn squash in a 400º oven for 35-45 minutes. For pictures of this process refer to the stuffed acorn squash recipe
. Cleave the very top off your garlic and wrap it in foil. Place the foil on the tray with the squash and roast.
When the squash is done, flip and let cool. Scoop out the flesh and set it aside.
In a soup pot heat 2 TBS of olive oil. Add your onion and leek and saute until they are soft and translucent. Add your carrots and celery and saute for 8-10 minutes until soft.
To this add your scooped out squash flesh and your garlic. To add the roasted garlic just squeeze out the yummy squishy roasted cloves. Saute all together for a few minutes. Add a quart (4 cups) of vegetable stock and bring to a simmer. Transfer to a blender in two batches and puree until smooth. Return it to the soup pot and bring back up to simmer.
Thin the soup out with 1-2 cups of water depending on the consistency you prefer. Add your maple syrup, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if you like. Black pepper will leave little specks in the soup that some might not like. If this bugs you, use white pepper. It has a bit of a different taste, but it’s still great.
To finish the soup whisk in 1/4 cup creme fraiche. If you don’t have creme fraiche you can use sour cream, plain yogurt or heavy creme to mostly the same effect. If you want to have a vegan soup leave it out all together. It is absolutely delicious before you add it, I just think it adds a little extra tang and depth of flavor. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche in the center.
We paired this soup with my arugula salad
, a hearty seeded bread loaf with some brie cheese, and a Pinot Noir.
A votre santé!