Hannah Palmer Egan
Squash soup with buttermilk and Bulgarian feta
Mid-February is about when all those winter vegetables in storage start to descend the bell curve — at least in my house, where I'm lazy about proper cellaring. Two cabbages and a hulking winter squash have taunted me from a bushel basket in my half-frozen mudroom since October. I don't even remember where they came from — probably 4 Corners Farm
in Newbury, or maybe Cedar Circle Farm
in Thetford. I frequented both during harvest and stockpiled quite a lot from each.
Last week, the squash started to nose dive, so I brought it in and roasted it on Sunday, when it was below zero all day. Because why wouldn't you light the oven when it's that cold out?
Earlier today, I threw some of the squash (which I left in a roasting pan in the mudroom, aka walk-in refrigerator, for two days) in a blender with some stock, then warmed it with a splash of buttermilk. Voilà! Soup in five minutes. And bonus: It's a gorgeous carnelian color.
As always, soup is only as good as the stock you put into it, so homemade is best. But if you don't have stock at the ready, something store-bought will do just fine. As will jarred roasted red peppers, if you're not able to make your own.
This recipe can be made vegan if you skip the buttermilk (and feta garnish), or sub cashew or almond milk with a tiny squeeze of lemon. It's also gluten free.
Easiest Squash Soup
- 2 cups squash, roasted*
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Shake each: cumin, granulated garlic, Hungarian paprika
- 3/4 cup buttermilk
- Feta, cilantro, smoked paprika, for garnish
Purée all ingredients except the buttermilk and garnish in a blender until smooth. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat on medium-low until it just begins to bubble. Stir in buttermilk and heat another 2-3 minutes. Garnish with crumbled feta (I like the tangy Bulgarian kind), cilantro and smoked paprika.
*Quarter a winter squash, remove seeds and roast in a 350 degree oven 60-90 minutes, until soft. Cover with foil and allow to cool; reserve any liquid in the roasting pan. When the squash is cool, scoop the flesh away from the skin, place in plastic quart containers, and refrigerate or freeze for later use. I like to mash it with butter and maple, but you could also use it in pasta, polenta, pudding or however else you see fit.