I love farmer’s markets and the beautiful winter squashes that are available in the fall. I recently found a squash that I just love, the Blue Hubbard Squash. These babies are beautiful, blueish hue on the outside with bright orange flesh. They are super sweet and make amazing soup as they take on flavors wonderfully. They used to be very common in the early 20th century as they were one of the few foods that could be counted on to pass through a long winter unspoiled, if stored properly. Legend has it that Hubbard squashes came from South America where apparently they have been cultivated for some 4000 years. Stories say that that they were brought to Massachusetts in the late 1700’s. A woman named Elizabeth Hubbard may have been responsible for spreading and endorsing the seeds.
These squashes can be beasts – some can weigh thirty pounds or even more – and with a tough rind that makes getting to the flesh quite difficult. I’ve heard that the best way to open the large ones is to wrap them in a plastic bag and drop them with some force to the ground. They apparently split open easily. I didn’t have to worry about it as my hubbard was just a baby, at least it was small. I managed to cut it open with a sharp knife and then cut off the rind with the same knife. After that I cut it up into cubes so it could be roasted.
I looked in my pantry to see what I could find to complement the squash. I didn’t want to mess around with too many other vegetables so I opted only to use leeks and shallots to keep the flavor of the squash pure. At the end I added some apples as I thought the apples would work perfectly. I wanted just a hint of aji panca (a chili native to Peru) in the soup. This is my favorite chili powder these days, I love the flavor of this chili powder. I added some half and half to finish the soup and to round it out.
I think it worked out well, but you be the judge.
¼ tsp ground aji panca chili powder
¼ tsp Alderwood sea salt
1 tsp French thyme
1 bay leaf
3 1/3 cups roasted blue hubbard squash (cut into 1 cubes)
1 ½ cup diced leeks
½ cup dice shallots
2 small fuji apples that have been cut into 1 inch pieces
5 cups organic chicken stock
1 tbl olive oil
½ cup half and half
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Roast blue hubbard squash (that has been coated with olive oil) for 45 minutes or until soft and lightly caramelized. Remove from oven
- In soup pot, sauté leeks and shallots in 1 tbl olive oil until softened.
- Add roasted blue hubbard squash to leeks and shallots
- Add chicken stock and spices
- Add apple pieces
- Bring to a simmer and simmer for 30 minutes until apples are softened
- Puree soup
- Add half and half