old mother hubbard soup: hubbard squash, sage, rosemary, smoked hot paprika oil, chevre, toasted pepitas. (served with c’s homemade oatmeal sandwich bread)
Every fall, as the local growing season comes to an end, we stock up on winter squashes and stash them in the basement to supply our kitchen during the winter. Today we realized that spring is around the corner and we need to make a dent in the 25 pounds of squash we still have left. So, I broke down and roasted a giant Hubbard squash and made this soup. My squash was about 9 pounds. If yours isn’t, adjust amounts accordingly. Makes 6 to 8 hearty servings.
Using whatever clean, heavy blades you have around the house (and appropriate safety equipment), go to town on the hubbard, seeding it and separating it into 4 or 6 pieces of roughly equal thickness. Brush with oil, season, and roast at 375˚ on one or more foil covered cookie sheets until tender, between one and two hours. When the squash cool enough to handle, scoop its flesh, chop it up into inch-wide chunks, and set it aside.
Meanwhile, heat a quarter cup of olive oil in a large dutch oven, and sweat the following with some salt and pepper:
- 2 onions (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tablespoons sage (finely chopped), and
- 1 tablespoon rosemary (very finely chopped)
Once the onions are very soft, add the squash and a quart of chicken stock. Simmer for 10 minutes and then puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper and some sherry vinegar to taste. Stir in some cream or half and half if you feel like it.
Meanwhile (yes, we’re nesting meanwhile’s), toast some pepitas (pumpkin seeds) in a small heavy pan with a little oil. Remove to paper towel and season them. To the same pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and a teaspoon of hot smoke paprika. Stir for a few moments over medium heat. Pour paprika oil into a very small heat-proof container and allow to settle. Crumble some goat cheese and set aside.
Plate up the soup with the pepitas, the goat cheese, and the paprika oil. (Skim the oil off the top so as not to dredge up the solids.) Serve with yummy bread.