I just ate a chunk of cheese for a snack. It was delicious and I have to thank my friend E for the suggestion of packing my purse with tiny hunks of cheese before I leave the house. This may not sound revolutionary to you or anyone else reading this, but it is a bit of an adjustment for me. With every hunk of cheese, carrot stick, or almond I ingest, I am reminded of a recent medical slap in the face.
I can still feel the sting, in fact. It seems the pregnancy diet is not as liberating as I once imagined. Those muffins, fresh bread, and pasta feeds that invigorated me during times of hormonal distress are, apparently, no friend to the gestating.
When I tipped the scales last week at a weight few should ever witness, my midwife informed me that I no longer process carbohydrates like an ordinary person. Every bit of bread I put into my body stays there. The danger, of course, is that my baby will be a big girl. Given the daunting nature of a natural birth, this is not what I wanted to hear. Fortunately, my baby girl is currently estimated to be average sized and, thus, the bread appears to be accumulating elsewhere on my body.
In retrospect, the baking extravaganza well-documented on this blog may not have been the most prudent path. It isn’t such a joy to watch your belly grow if everything else swells accordingly. I’m not here to dwell on the starchy negatives, however. I just want to keep you updated. I am making adjustments. There will be more variety. It’s a thing to be embraced. I hear it’s the spice of life, after all.
In keeping with this spirit, I bring you a hearty and very easy Fall soup. It’s made with delicata squash. Delicata squash is one of my favorite Fall squashes. It’s gorgeous, easy to cook, and the flavor is so buttery it melts in your mouth. Moreover, it pairs well with rosemary and thyme, which are both abundant in Northwest gardens. You can find it at your local grocery store or farmer’s market right now.
The recipe I give you today calls for you to roast the squash prior to adding it to the soup. I’m a huge roasting fan because it brings out the depth of flavor in pretty much anything. However, soup is forgiving. That’s the wonderful thing about making soup from scratch. You can pretty much do what you like. If you’re in a pinch, feel free to toss the raw squash in with the broth and cook it until it’s tender. It will work, I promise.
I highly recommend cooking this soup on a crisp Fall evening. If you are wise, you will dip large hunks of hearty bread into it and savor the flavor of the delicata squash as it soaks into your bread. However, I will ask you to refrain from telling me about this if you enjoy this method of soup ingestion. I’m in a delicate state. I might not be able to resist doing it myself and I simply cannot endure another scolding from my medical care provider.
Medical revelations aside, I remain steadfast in my promise to deliver up a good selection of Holiday breads this season. Although I cannot enjoy them to the fullest extent, I know it’s important to fill your bellies and those of your loved ones with starchy goodness this season. Never fear.
Roasted Delicata Soup
2 lbs delicata squash, halved and seeded
1 medium shallot, finely diced
4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
3 tblsp salted butter
Sea salt, and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tblsp crumbled blue cheese (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil. Place the squash halves with open sides up. Divide one tblsp of the butter among them and put it into the various cavities. Roast in the oven for approximately 30 -40 minutes (depending on the thickness of the squash) until the inside of the squash is soft and can be easily removed. Remove from oven. Set aside to cool briefly.
In a stock pan on the stove, melt the remaining butter over medium to low heat. Add the shallot and rosemary and cook until the shallot is soft and fragrant, but not browned (about 4-5 minutes). Add the 4 cups of stock and increase the heat to medium-high.
Scoop out the cooked squash into bit sized chunks and add it to the soup. Cook the squash in the soup for about 15 minutes until the stock is slightly reduced and the flavors come together. Remove from heat. Blend the soup mixture until smooth in batches in a blender or using a hand mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour soup into bowls to serve. Top each bowl with a tsp of blue cheese and stir it into the soup.
Note: Blue cheese adds a hint of creaminess to the soup. Smoked blue cheese is even better. You can also substitute a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche for the same effect.