Folks, we just made this soup tonight with Kobocha Squash from Carl’s organic Woodleaf Farm, and I can tell, you this is the best vegetarian soup I have ever eaten. Period. We used a blender to smooth out the texture at the end… and yes, we found ourselves licking everything the soup touched. Please try it (can be made with any winter squash) and let us know what you think.
Winter Squash Soup with Fried Sage Leaves
2 1/2 – 3 lbs winter squash
1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for coating the squash
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
12 whole sage leaves, plus 2T chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
Chopped leaves from 4 thyme sprigs or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and freshly milled pepper
2 cups water, or stock
1/2 cup Fontina, Pecorino, or Ricotta Salata, diced into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Half the squash and scoop out the seeds. Brush the squash with olive oil, place garlic in the cavities, and place squash cut sides down on a baking dish. Bake until tender when pressed with a finger, about 30 minutes (60 minutes for large squash).
Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the 1/4 cup oil until nearly smoking, then drop in the whole sage leaves and fry until speckled and somewhat darker, about 1 minute. Set the leaves aside on a paper towel and transfer the oil to a wide soup pot. Add the onions, chopped sage, thyme, and parsley and cook over medium high heat until the onions have begun to brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Scoop the squash flesh into the pot and pour in any juice that has accumulated in the baking dish. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins and into the pot along with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and the water. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 25 minutes. If the soup becomes too thick, add more water. Salt to taste.
Consistency: Different types of squash yield different textures. If you want a smoother or “creamy” texture, puree with a blender or food processor and return to low heat briefly before serving.
Serving: To serve, ladle into soup bowls and drop in the cheese cubes. Garnish with fried sage leaves and fresh ground pepper.
Alternate serving suggestion: scoop out a large squash, reserving the cut out top. Ladle the soup into the squash “tureen,” cover with the top, and serve at the table.