Anyone else fallen in love with Delicata Squash this season? I am about to start a Delicata fan club.
The “story” of this soup requires somewhat of a prelude and a thorough (and wordy) understanding my grocery shopping psychology.
Anyone who is a loyal Gourmet Gourmandian (aka Hi Mom!!) may have realized that Trader Joes is my jam. Prices are low, food is (usually) fresh, and they specialize in seasonal ingredients. To be honest, I am not an organics freak, so that is not my reason for loving that store. I love them because they make me feel fancy but I don’t need to compromise on budget. Plus I can feel like I’m healthy because my frozen chocolate croissants are geniusly placed next to brussel sprouts still. on. the. stalk. (Which of course I’ll make sure to puchase next time, but for today I’ll just go with croissants…)The one downside to Trader Joes is that you really can’t do all of your shopping there (at least I can’t). The selection is intentionally limited, I assume, to keep costs low. But this is a huge bummer if you’re looking for something specific and they happen to not stock it currently, or maybe it’s slightly out of season.
Here in San Diego, there is some symbiotic magic happening because nearly all Trader Joes are close to or accompanied by a Ralphs. (Ralphs = Kroger for any Michiganders or East Coasters out there) ((I’d also like to pause to lol about how Californians think Michigan is “close enough” to the Atlantic they consider it East Coast)). It gets my heart aflutter when I can think about good, cheap, and efficient grocery shopping… and one can find almost anything one might want between these 2 stores.
(Seafood and unique meats… let’s talk about that another time).SO to carry on, one day, doing my usual Trader-Ralphs (or Ralph-Joes?) circuit I saw that Delicata squash was being displayed front and center at TJs. Perfect! said I, because I was just thinking about how I could make even more soup for The Gourmet Gourmand chronicles. (I promise I don’t just feed Dave and myself a pureed liquid diet).
Because let’s be real.. Butternut Squash has been a little overdone. (But I might be thinking about making butternut squash soup with chiles. Maybe.)
But anyway in my bold bucking the trend mood, I went ahead and took the plunge and grabbed 2 of those beautiful Delicata Squashes.
(And then Trader Joes was out of apples, so I proceeded to march straight over to Ralphs to get dem apples.)
And then drove straight home to prepare this gorgeous Spiced Delicata Soup for you all.Let’s talk Delicata. Delicata Squash is similar to butternut, but has a very delicate (delicata) skin, that you can actually eat. It’s also known as the sweet potato squash, which I assume is due to the texture. The squash is not at all stringy when cooked, and very soft and tender. The flavor profile is definitely squashy rather than sweet potato, but does tend toward the sweeter side.
Needless to say, there are a variety of ways to prepare it, but what I did here was to skin and seed the sqash, and cut it into cubes for roasting. I roasted it alongside the apples and shallots, and tossed in a little fresh thyme. And then pureed it all together with a little chicken stock to a achieve a very smooth, buttery, texture. The flavor was actually pretty decent at that point, but I wanted to make it a little more interesting so I added some garlic, mascarpone cheese, classic fall spices, and just a splash of vinegar.
Spiced Delicata Soup
- 1 lb Delicata Squash about 2 medium squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into cubes
- 1 lb granny smith apples about 3 large apples, peeled and cubed
- 3 shallots quartered
- 3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
- Olive oil
- 3 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- 3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt ane pepper to taste
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoons mascarpone
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine squash, apples, shallots, and thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss well to evenly coat with oil.
- Spoon mixture onto lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to blender. Add about ½ cup of chicken stock. Puree together until smooth.
- In a stockpot, melt butter with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 2 minutes or until garlic is softened.
- Add squash puree to pot. Pour in remaining chicken stock. Whisk until mixture is smooth.
- Next whisk in spices and vinegar. Bring mixture to a simmer, and cook for about 5 minutes to allow flavors to combine.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Last, melt in the mascarpone cheese and whisk to combine.
- Serve garnished with microgreens or a sprinkle of nutmeg.