October 10, 2010 is a holiday. Did you know that? I didn't either; until yesterday. Yes, it's the day before Columbus day, and no, I'm not entirely sure why it's a holiday except for the fact that apparently on 10/10/10 you're supposed to get together with good friends, break the dishwasher, thus be required to wash every dish by hand, harass instectosauraus, allow your children to watch shows that are not educational, experiment with martinis, eat double squash soup (and a whole plethora of other things), and most importantly, spend time with good friends.
It is entirely possible that 10/10/10 is not a holiday in real life. It is entirely possible that this so called 'holiday' is only a figment of the imagination of the 'Peens' (Pattens plus us).. I'd say the 'Shattons' but that just sounds wrong. Either way, the double squash soup was a delicious experiment I was working on for my upcoming article in Grow Northwest. All around I'd say it was a hit; even with the mini 'Peens', who were simply glad that I let them watch 'something not educational' as Noodle says.
The soup: my goal was something warm and holiday-ish. The result was a flavorful, spicy combination of two types of squash simmered in a wintry blend of fennel, sage, rosemary and the like. I am currently obsessed with sage. You have been warned.
This soup was super easy to make, simmering on the stove for a good hour or two. It would also be a great crock pot soup. Imagine coming home to the rich scent of simmering winter soup. Not only is dinner ready, your house smells delicous and you hardly had to lift a finger. Win.
Yield about 6-8 servings depending on size
1 butternut squash, cubed and de-skinned
1 acorn squash, cubed and de-skinned
1 teaspoon fennel
1 teaspoon sage
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped or smashed
Extra virgin olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, with the juice
About 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
Green onion, chopped, for garnish
Put all squash cubes in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine fennel, sage, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Sprinkle mix over squash cubes and toss to combine, then set aside. You can use a spoon to make this easier.
In a large soup pot (I use my Mario Batali), heat extra virgin olive oil and add onion. Let cook, stirring constantly, until onions are soft and glossy. About 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook until onions are slightly browning. About another 2 minutes.
(Note: if you are going to use a crock pot, cook the onions and garlic then transfer them to the crock pot. Add the rest of the ingredients (as shown below) to the crock pot instead of the pot you cooked the onions in. You can also use a smaller pot to cook the onions/garlic... if you're going with the crock pot.)
Add squash to onions and stir well to combine. Let cook about 2 minutes then add the can of tomatoes and vegetable broth. Stir to combine, cover and let simmer on medium heat for about one hour. While simmering, give it a stir every once in a while. (if you're using a crock pot, cook on low heat for 4-6 hours)
At the hour point, check your soup. The squash should be nice and tender. Give it a little taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Using a potato masher, give it a light mash. Light. You don't want puree, you just want to break up some of the squash, giving the soup an inconsistent texture. You do want to keep some chunks so don't go crazy.
Cover, turn the heat down to low and let simmer another 1/2 hour to 1 hour longer. The soup is basically ready at this point but the longer you let it go, the more fragrant it will be. It's an herby soup.