This year we had some butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata) grow up out of nowhere in our backyard. I’m sure a kindly bird dropped the seeds off for us (unless there is a Squash Fairy.)
I cut off a piece and tasted it; it was the most delicious piece of raw squash I’ve ever had. Later that afternoon I discovered a little secret, though: squash tastes even better when cooked with cream and sherry. That evening we dined on squash soup!
To prepare the soup, I had to cut the squash in half. This turned out to be an excruciating task. For a minute I thought about getting the electric saw out of the basement, but that thing scares me. Thankfully, Shawnna suggested heating the squash in the oven for 10 minutes or so, which made it easier to cut through.
Once I’d cut the squash in half, I placed the pieces in a baking dish with a little bit of water and cooked at 300 degrees for about 30 minutes. After letting it cool for a couple of minutes, I took out the remaining seeds and peeled the skin away. Throwing in some ginger, salt and pepper, I chopped up the pieces and mixed them in the food processor. Meanwhile, I sauteed some onions with butter, nutmeg and allspice. Everything then got thrown into the dutch oven with vegetable stock, cream and sherry.
Squash is a New World Native and was growing in Mesoamerica before the arrival of any humans. It was part of the diet for many indigenous people from South American to Canada, who started cultivating it between 8 and 10,000 years ago. I wonder if they had any soup recipes?