caramelized onion and acorn squash soup

caramelized onion and acorn squash soup | A Brown Table

For some reason, squash seems to take the center stage during autumn in the kitchen. I should rephrase that, it becomes more visible, however, most of us, do eat all sorts of squash year round. My friend, Amanda of HeartBeet Kitchen addresses just this, in her wonderful and informative new cookbook, Smitten with Squash . Not only does she share a wonderful collection of recipes but she also discusses easier ways to prepare and cook different members of this delicious and diverse family.

caramelized onion and acorn squash soup | A Brown Table

When I received her book a few weeks ago, I was immediately drawn to the sheer amount of helpful information on the different types of squashes and maintaining them, from how to select the best kind, to best the way in preparing them to cook. 

caramelized onion and acorn squash soup | A Brown Table

Amanda has come up with a collection of unique recipes that all utilize squashes in some sort of tasty way in her book, from savory to sweet there's something to satisfy everyone tastebuds. But since the weather is cooling down, and in some places faster than others (though not as much here in Northern California), I thought it would be perfect to share this simple yet delicious warm and comforting acorn squash soup from Amanda's book. There's roasting, caramelizing, and puréeing followed by sessions of eager eating of copious amount of this vibrant and tasty soup. This acorn squash soup has mild notes of a gentle sweetness from the caramelized onions mixed in with the silky and buttery texture of the acorn squash and then there's the little topping of toasted nuts. The acorn squash recipe originally called for pecans but I ran out and ended up using salted pistachios instead, they worked perfectly!

caramelized onion and acorn squash soup |A Brown Table

Folks, Amanda is giving away a copy of her cookbook, Smitten with Squash to one lucky reader! Leave a comment below to tell me what's the most innovative dish you've made with squash and I will pick the best one! The giveaway is open to legal residents of the United States only and will end a week from now on October 22, 2014.

caramelized onion and acorn squash soup |A Brown Table

caramelized onion and acorn squash soup (from the Smitten with Squash Cookbook by Amanda Paa)

yields: 4 servings

ingredients

1 lb acorn squash, halved, de-seeded

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter 

2 (1 lb) medium yellow or white onions, halved and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

2 cups low sodium vegetable (or chicken) stock 

3/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/4 cup salted toasted pistachios (or pecans), coarsely chopped 

1. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F. Remove any stringy material that might be present in the squash after it is deseeded. Brush the surface of the flesh of the squash halves with the vegetable oil. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet with cut side upwards, roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender and easily pierced by a fork. Remove the pulp with a spoon and keep aside until ready to use.

2. While the squash continues to roast in the oven, heat a wide, thick-bottomed stainless steel skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Scatter the onion slices evenly over the pan. Cook for 5 minutes, without stirring to brown, then stir and spread the onions to "sweat" and release their moisture content. After about 10 minutes, most of the released liquid should evaporate, add the salt and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 30 minutes, stirring often to ensure the onions don't burn. When the onions are a uniform brown color, they are done.

3. Pour in 1 cup of the stock and scrape the sides of the pan with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to release any bits and flavors from the onions. Transfer the contents of the pan to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend on medium speed for about a minute. Add the rest of the broth, half of the squash flesh and puree again for one minute. Then add the buttermilk and rest of the squash, purée until silky smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Before serving garnish each bowl of warm soup with a tablespoon of the pistachios.

butternut squash and green chutney tartines

Butternut Squash and Green Chutney Tartines | A Brown Table

I like sandwiches of all sort, shapes and sizes. Tartines are no exception and I love them loaded, stacked with all sorts of stuff with contrasting flavors and colors! I'm a firm believer that every bite into a sandwich should offer different and distinct layers of complexity in taste. So, I've prepared a little fall inspired tartine to eat and share with you this weekend. 

Butternut Squash and Green Chutney Tartines | A Brown Table
Fall in Virginia | A Brown Table

All week long, we've been eating a lot of these guys! These tartines are layered with my green cilantro-mint chutney along with a few cubes of butternut squash, a generous layer of mozzarella and a single whole shiitake mushroom. It's simple yet tasty, full of fresh herbs and flavors and a colorful open-faced sandwich at that. An easy dish that can easily be made into a snack or appetizer for a party. 

Butternut Squash and Green Chutney Tartines | A Brown Table
  • I used a rustic ciabatta bread here but any type of rustic bread will work for the bread base. 
  • Fresh pumpkin cubes can also be used in place of butternut squash. 

Go ahead and make yourself a few tartines and enjoy your weekend!

Butternut Squash and Green Chutney Tartines | A Brown Table

butternut squash and green chutney tartines

yields: 6 individual tartines

ingredients 

2 cups cubed butternut squash or pumpkin (about 1/2 inch sizes cubes)

1/2 cup red onion

1/2 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

6 slices of ciabatta bread

6 small shiitake mushrooms

1/2 cup green cilantro-mint chutney (click for recipe)

1/2 cup low skim fresh mozzarella cheese (drain excess water and pat dry with a clean towel, and tear the cheese into bits)

1 tablespoon olive oil + a little more for drizzling over the tartines

a little more salt and pepper for seasoning 

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Toss the butternut squash and onions together in a mixing bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the salt and pepper and spread the mixture on baking sheet lined with parchment paper for about 15-20 minutes until tender. Remove from oven and keep aside. Do not switch the oven off.

2. Take one slice of the bread and spread a generous 1 1/2 teaspoons of the green chutney with a butter knife. Place about 1 -2 tablespoons of the butternut squash mixture on the bread and 1 shitake mushroom in the center. Layer the top with about 1 tablespoon of the torn mozzarella cheese. Season with a little more salt and pepper. Prepare the rest of the tartines similarly and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drizzle the tartines with a little olive oil and bake in the preheated oven at 350F for about 10-15 minutes until the bread is lightly toasted and the cheese has melted. Remove from oven and serve immediately.