January 01, 2015

About this recipe

While we don’t experience the extreme temperatures of our northern neighbors this time of year, we do experience winter in another way – with the bounty at our farmers’ markets. One abundant staple: winter squash. Winter squash are naturally low in both fat and calories and deliver significant nutritional benefits. Besides being packed with fiber and vitamin C, most offer minerals and antioxidants like beta carotene. Even better, the versatile veggie can work as a meatless entrée or a side dish for vegetarians and carnivores alike.

This recipe takes advantage of the availability of acorn squash, which grows in abundance during Florida’s winter months. Named for its acorn-like shape, it tends to be dark green or orange in color and has a sweet and slightly fibrous flesh. When selecting, look for those with smooth skin free of soft spots.

This soup recipe balances sweet and savory by combining roasted acorn squash, honey and a pinch of chipotle chile for good measure. The roasted pecans add crunch and the parmesan cheese and cream provide a hearty richness, making this a perfect comfort food.

Feel free to adjust the amount of broth used depending on your preferred thickness of soup. Going lighter on broth gives an almost gravy-like texture that is delectable when poured atop mashed potatoes, roasted veggies or turkey.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Halve the acorn squash and drizzle the olive oil inside of the veggie. Rub the insides of the squash down with salt, pepper and half of the chipotle chile powder. Place the squash on a baking sheet, cut side up. Roast for 40 minutes or unit the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

While the squash cools, sprinkle the pecans on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes (watch carefully – they move from toasted to overdone quickly). Remove the pecans and allow to cool.

Scoop out the insides of the cooled squash and place in a blender or food processor with the broth and honey. Blend on high to a smooth puree.

Pour the blended mixture into a pot and warm over medium heat. Add the cheese and heavy cream and stir until combined, and allow to heat for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with a few roasted pecans and the rest of the chile powder (to taste).

Ingredients

  • 1 large acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 4 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
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