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The Secret to Smooth Squash Soup

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Asian Flavors Winter Squash Soup

(Family Features) - With intriguing names and colorful, oddly shaped shells, squash like butternut, buttercup, acorn, kabocha, carnival, autumn cup, gold nugget, sweet dumpling and fairytale pumpkin provide many choices for the winter cook. Exteriors can be bumpy or smooth, in mottled greens and golds, and flesh colors range from a buttery yellow to vibrant orange.

"Winter squash, like an awkward teenager, can be big, clumsy and hard to get through to, but with a little understanding its inherent sweetness will shine," says Terese Allen, Organic Valley's culinary advisor.

Treat pumpkins and other hard shelled winter squash like potatoes: poke them in several places with a meat fork and bake at 350° F until fully tender (from 45 minutes to 2 hours). Test for doneness by piercing again with a fork to determine if the interior is soft. Split squash open to cool a little, then remove the seeds. Spoon out and puree the flesh (mash by hand or use a ricer or food processor) and use it in pies, soups and side dishes.

"Winter squash make a luscious soup, and Organic Valley soy milk gives it a rich, velvety, texture," Allen says.

Tips for Choosing and Storing Winter Squash

  • Look for firm, heavy squash with intact shells
  • Don't buy a cracked or moist squash
  • Don't worry about variations in color
  • Check for spoilage around the stem - it should be dry
  • Do not wash before storing
  • Store in a cool, dry location (most varieties keep for 6 to 8 weeks)

For more recipes visit: www.organicvalley.coop

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Asian Flavors Winter Squash Soup

Warm up to the velvet texture of this delicious squash soup.
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  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, minced or grated fresh ginger
  • 1 to 3 jalapeño or serrano chilies, seeded and minced
  • 2 cups homemade chicken stock or 1 14.5-ounce can reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups cooked winter squash puree (pie pumpkin, butternut, etc.)
  • 2 cups Organic Valley Original or Unsweetened Soy Milk, plus additional soy milk as desired, divided
  • 2 teaspoons bottled Thai-style fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • handful of cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • unsweetened coconut flakes (optional)

    1. Heat peanut oil in saucepan; add shallots, ginger and chilies. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until shallots are tender.
    2. Add stock and squash puree. Stir and simmer slowly, about 10 minutes. Stir in soy milk and heat through. Stir in fish sauce, lime juice and cilantro.
    3. Add additional soy milk, if desired, for thinner consistency. Season to taste. If using canned broth, use salt sparingly. Garnish each bowl with coconut flakes or more cilantro, if desired.

Makes: 6 servings

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Variations: For a vegetarian and vegan version, omit fish sauce and substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. If you prefer, substitute Organic Valley Whole Milk for soy milk.

Inspired by a recipe from "Crossroads Cooking" by Elisabeth Rozin (1999, Viking).

Recipe courtesy of Terese Allen for Organic Valley Family of Farms
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SOURCE: Organic Valley

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