Thursday, January 12, 2012

Winter Squash, Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup w/ Gruyere Croutons

Winter "orange" soup

This is a winter squash, carrot, and sweet potato soup that is simply divine. I made it last night for dinner just to use up the last of my winter squash and it turned out better than I thought it would. I basically scoured the interweb looking for recipes that I thought would be good, but I didn't find a single one that I I came up with my own! I call it my Orange soup...not because it has oranges in it but because this is the brightest soup you will ever eat! I have only made it once and I am writing down the recipe from memory so if its not right just let me know!

Winter Squash, Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup w/ Gruyere Croutons
Winter "Orange" Soup

(for the soup)
  • medium to large winter squash (any kind will do, just pick one you like. I used a pumpkin squash)
  • 4 large carrots
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • rind from parmesan cheese (they sell just the rinds, or you can substitute just about 1/4 a cup or so of fresh grated parm)
  • olive oil
  • salt (to taste, I use salt throughout the cooking process so I generally don't add much at the end)
  • pepper (to taste, I like a lot of pepper :])
  • 1 1/2 tsp. thyme (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp. sage (more or less to taste)
  • 6 cups vegetable stock (I used 6 cups of water and 2 veggie bouillon cubes)
  • heavy cream
(for gruyere croutons)
  • 1 french baguette
  • gruyere cheese
  • butter
  • sage

Now on to the cooking part :]
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit. Cut your squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then cut both halves in half. Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into cubes about the same width as the squash so they cook about the same. Peel your onion and cut it in half then cut both halves into fourths. Take your garlic (do not peel the garlic or it will burn) and wrap it in foil with a little hole at the top. Place all your veggies on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the squash and sweet potatoes are tender. When they are cool scrape the insides of the squash out.
  2. Chop your carrots and celery and sautee them in a little olive oil with the thyme and sage over medium low till tender (about 10 minutes or so).
  3. Once they are tender you can add the roasted veggies to the pot. Mix all of them together well and bring up to heat.
  4. Once everything is hot then add then vegetable stock (or water at this point). Bring to a boil (if you are using bouillon then add them after the water is boiling). If you are adding the parm rinds then you can add them here, but if you are just adding parm then wait.
  5. Now your soup is basically done, you can let it simmer for a while or you can go ahead and go to the next step.
  6. Once you are ready then its time to blend. I personally like my soup a little chunky so I just take an immersion blender to the whole thing (gotta love those things!) But if you are like the rest of my family then you like a creamy soup and will want to either put it in a blender or a food processor and pulverize the crap out of it till its smooth. Make sure you do it in batches though...otherwise it tends to get a little messy!
  7. Now you can put it back in the pot and add your cream, a lot of people say not to keep it on the heat after you add it but I have found that it doesn't particularly matter if you are using heavy cream over say half and half or milk. So at this point I add the cream and some salt and pepper and its ready to go!
Now for the croutons its super easy...
I just slice the baguette at an angle into about 1/2 inch slices then butter one side and sprinkle it with sage. I put those on a cookie sheet and put them in a 400 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes or until they are decently crispy. Then I take them out and flip them over. I take some grated gruyere cheese and sprinkle it on the non buttered sides and pop them back in for a few minutes till the cheese is all melted and delicious and there you have it!
Now serve this soup up in bowls with two croutons on top and you have got yourself some super delicious wintery soup. Enjoy :]

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