Thursday, October 11, 2012

Apple Squash Soup

Apple Squash Soup

This is a tale of two winter squash plants.  They cross-pollinated and created one very large and very delicious squash.  It weighed 14.5 pounds! 

Mystery Winter Squash

Tom really isn't sure what varieties of squash cross-pollinated, but it is likely a cross of one variety from Japan and one from New Zealand.  He had ordered several heirloom varieties of squash seeds and started them in the greenhouse, then planted them in late May in our garden. But that great start came to an abrupt end when a neighbor dog dug up most of the plants. The dog's life nearly came to an abrupt end that day too when Tom discovered the damage.  But true to gardener spirit, his persistence prevailed and he salvaged and replanted what he could.  But he was unable to identify each squash variety, and thought that it wouldn't matter since he would be able to identify the squash it produced.  But this huge squash does not look like any of the varieties he planted and we can only surmise that two plants cross-pollinated because they were in such close proximity.  So we were a bit skeptical about how it would taste.  Ah....surprises can be so joyous!  Tom cut it into several wedges to roast in the oven and we reveled at the bright orange flesh. And when it was tender after about an hour in the oven, we sampled a bit and our taste buds exploded with rich, sweet wondrous squash! PZAZZ!   Having large amounts of delicious cooked squash ready to use in a variety of ways is a definite time saver.  I even like to put it into my egg-white omelets.   Winter squash is a dream food for those of us with diabetes because a full cup of cooked squash is only 18 grams of carbohydrates and is remarkably filling.

Squash wedges ready to roast in the oven

While I can enjoy soft squash just as it is with just a bit of sea salt, I also delight in a hearty squash soup.   This one was an impromptu creation inspired by several recipes I had seen in magazines recently, as well as a desire to use up onions, carrots, and apples harvested by Tom. This is one I will definitely make frequently.  Squash is full of vitamins A and C and a healthy dose of fiber, making this soup a nutritious and delicious lunch. I like to add just a dash of cayenne pepper to many of my soup creations.  Be sure to add just enough to add a little bit of Pzazz, but not so much that you overwhelm the other earthy tastes.     

2 teaspoons coconut oil (or olive oil)
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
1/2 cup diced carrots
2 cups cooked, mashed winter squash
2/3 cup shredded apple
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
dash of cayenne pepper

Heat the oil in a large soup pot.  Saute onions and carrots in the oil until softened, about 5 - 7 minutes.  Add the apple and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth and cooked squash. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes, making sure the carrots are fully cooked. You may need to add more broth if the carrots take longer to cook.  Transfer to a VitaMix and puree until creamy.  Add cayenne pepper carefully, a little bit at a time, to desired taste.  Or just sprinkle a bit on top of the soup in the serving bowl.

Nutrition: (using coconut oil)                            
Squash coming out of the oven
Servings per recipe: 3
Serving Size: 1 cup
Calories: 135
Total Fat: 3 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg                                        
Sodium: 160 mg
Total Carbs: 27 g
Dietary Fiber: 7 g
Protein: 2 g