Meatless Monday: Winter Squash Soup

By Kelly DiNardo

As we pay greater attention to where our food comes from, our health and the health of what we’re consuming, even the most carnivorous eaters are taking a break from meat – at least occasionally. Of course, it can be challenging to follow Meatless Monday, the international campaign to eat vegetarian on Mondays, without making it Carb-Lovers’ Monday. So we’ve turned to area chefs for a little inspiration. Today, Trademark in Alexandria, Va. dishes up a Winter Squash Soup.

Winters Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs       Winter Squash (butternut, acorn or sweet dumpling)
  • 1 cup     yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup    celery, diced
  • ½ cup    carrot, diced
  • 1 tbsp    molasses
  • 1        cinnamon stick
  • 2        cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp     coriander seed
  • ½ tsp     fennel seed
  • 1 tsp      ground cinnamon
  • 1 qt        vegetable stock
  • ½ qt       heavy cream
  • ¼ cup    olive oil
  • 2 tsp      kosher salt
  • 1 tsp      fresh sage, chopped
  • ½ tsp     fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 ea        apple, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp    butter

Directions

  1. In a pan with no oil, over medium heat, toast coriander and fennel seed.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthways and scoop out seeds, place on baking tray, drizzle squash with olive oil.
  3. Mix half the ground cinnamon with kosher salt, and sprinkle over oiled squash.
  4. Crack coriander and fennel seed and sprinkle over squash.
  5. Roast 300F for 40 minutes, until soft.
  6. Gently heat molasses over low heat with remaining ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick.
  7. Sauté onions, celery, carrots over medium heat,  add herbs, and apple chunks and continue until all is softened.
  8. Once squash is cooked, set aside to cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh and add to pan with onions and apple.  Add stock, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Blend with a hand blender until smooth, add infused molasses, and finish with cream and butter.
  10. Optional: Serve with a spoon of crème fraîche, and a drizzle of ginger-infused honey.