Thursday, January 27, 2022

Squash Soup with Avocado Lime Cream

 Originally published August 29, 2011

Remember the Tomato Art Fest recipe contest? The one that I didn't win? Well, as I mentioned previously, Amy at Fearless Homemaker also entered the competition with tomato-jicama stacks with avocado-lime cream.

Mmm...avocado-lime cream...mmm...I thought to myself, "Self, that would taste really good on some enchiladas or soft tacos. Self, you must make this." So I whipped up a batch and used it to top some soft tacos filled with lime-soaked baked tofu, queso fresco and sauteed chopped squash and onions. I also served some yellow rice as a side dish. A very tasty dinner.

But I saw Mr. Eats dipping into that cream a little more than I expected. Extra dollops on the tacos, several dollops on the rice, and then a brazen spoonful directly into the mouth. He liked it. Obviously.

So, what else to top with this cream? He won't eat raw tomatoes, so Amy's recipe is out. I had quite a bit leftover, too. So I started looking around the kitchen and it occurred to me: squash soup.

I'd been meaning to make a squash soup for a while. All kinds of squashes are in abundance right now. So what else to put in the soup? Shallots, of course, since I still have quite a few of them. Confession: when I bought this package of shallots, I confused them with cippolinis and had intended on roasting them to eat whole. While I'm sure that can be done with shallots, I don't think that would be the experience I was going for....

So, I looked around at what I had on hand. Half a golden zucchini, a couple of crookneck squash, and a white pattypan squash. I figured that would be a good combination.

Experience from the great baby-food-making debacle of last year told me two things: first, remove the seeds and second, cook the heck out of that squash. So first I sauteed the zucchini and crookneck with a couple of sliced shallots and then sauteed the pattypan with some garlic. And then put them all in a simmering pot of vegetable broth and some salt and pepper, of course. Once it cooled a bit, I blitzed it with my stick blender and...soup!

The last step was to see how it tasted with the avocado-lime cream. In a word, fantastic. A  perfect pairing. Dinner that evening was a cooled squash soup with dollops of the cream and a side of some peaches and cream cornbread. A light, but satisfying late summer dinner.

This soup can be made with just about any type of squash (you can bet I'll be making an acorn squash version and a butternut squash version later in the year), but if you're using crookneck, I think it's a good idea to include a pattypan in there, too because there was a really nice creamy consistency without even using any milk or cream. I believe that came from the pattypan.

Also, I changed Amy's avocado-lime cream recipe a bit. I cut back the avocado and lime juice and added a handful of cilantro. So if you're a cilantro hater, note that this can easily be made without it and it will still taste great.

Squash Soup with Avocado-Lime Cream
serves 2-4

3-4 summer squashes, seeds removed and cut into thin chunks
2 small/medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Add the olive oil to a large skillet and turn on medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook until soft (about five minutes). Add the squash and cook another 5-10 minutes (or until soft).

In the meantime, combine the broth, water, and salt in a large saucepan and heat to a boil. Add the sauteed squash and bulbs and simmer until very tender (about 30 minutes). Set aside to cool. Once cooled, puree the soup (with a stick blender, food processor, or blender). Chill.
Avocado-Lime Cream with Cilantro

1 avocado, sliced
the juice of one lime
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
a handful of cilantro, washed

Place the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.
Once the soup has chilled, sprinkle with pepper and swirl in dollops of the avocado-lime cream to taste and serve.

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