Winter has descended upon Minneapolis. There is snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures.
I would continue to complain, but I am making a concerted effort to find joy in my life. Which mean today I am going to talk about Soup Club. I love, love, LOVE Soup Club. It was one of the few shining points of last winter and will be for this winter as well. A group of really fabulous scientist-cooks get together to make soup every other Wednesday. One person brings a vegetarian option, one brings a meat option and one brings in a chef’s choice option. Somebody brings in a few loaves of bread and often somebody else will bring in dessert. We all gather in the lunchroom to break bread as well as to ooh and ahh over our collective culinary expertise.
People get excited for Soup Club Wednesdays. And rightly so.
This past Wednesday I brought in a vegetarian soup: Roasted Winter Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass. I was more than pleased with how this dish turned out and has happy to share it with my colleagues (and I hope they were pleased in consuming it). The ginger brings a spiciness, the lemongrass a freshness and the coconut milk a creaminess. Utter delicousness, if I do say so myself.
I used a whole variety of winter squash, primarily because they had been sitting neglected since I received them many weeks ago in my CSA, but there’s no reason why a large pumpkin or butternut squash wouldn’t work out nicely.
Soup Club: bringing people together in the most delicious way in hopes of surviving winter. What a brilliant idea.
Roasted Winter Squash Soup with Ginger and Lemongrass********** 1 sweet dumpling squash 1 acorn squash
1 spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2, 6-inch stalks lemon grass
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 cups corn kernels (fresh, canned or frozed)
2 cups vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk **********
Halve squash, remove seeds and place cut-side down in a roasting dish with 1/2 inch of water. Roast at 400 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Scoop roasted squash out of shells and puree in blender until smooth. Run througha mesh seive to remove excess water. I had had about 2, maybe 2 1/2 cups, of squash puree when I was finished. Set aside.
Cut off and discard top of lemongrass, leaving a 6-inch stalk, then smash stalk with side of a large heavy knife. Cook lemongrass, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt in oil in a heavy medium pot over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Add garlic, ginger, smoked paprika and white wine vinegar and cook for another minute or two. Add squash, corn (I used canned corn and dumped the entire contents in), vegetable stock, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally. Stir in coconut milk. Remove from heat and discard lemongrass.
Purée soup in 3 or 4 batches in a blender until very smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), straining each batch as blended through a fine-mesh sieve into a large heatproof bowl, pressing hard on and then discarding solids (this is kind of a pain in the ass, but I think it’s worth it – no leftover stingy bits of lemongrass!). Season with salt and pepper and reheat if necessary.