Gingered Acorn Squash Soup image p 34

What’s the secret to this sweet yet spicy squash soup? Ginger and pineapple! In the winter months, you can also use apple or pear to get that unexpected tang, says Lou Lambert, author of Big Ranch, Big City. Be sure to check out this interview with Lou where he talks cattle ranching and cooking, not to mention even more recipes in this recipe sampler.

Gingered Acorn Squash Soup

from Big Ranch, Big City (Ten Speed Press, 2011)

makes 8 servings

2 acorn squash 
(approximately 6 cups cooked squash), 
quartered and seeded

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small white onion, diced small

3 tablespoons finely diced fresh ginger

1/2 cup small-diced fresh or canned pineapple

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

4 cups chicken stock

1 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons honey

Fresh chopped tarragon, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Arrange the cut squash on a baking sheet and brush the cut sides with the melted butter. Season each piece by sprinkling on the brown sugar and allspice. Bake the squash until the flesh is tender, about 30 minutes. When the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and set aside.

Heat a heavy soup pot over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and ginger to the pot and cook until the onion becomes soft, about 4 minutes. Add the pineapple, salt, and white pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, heavy cream, and squash and bring to a simmer. Slowly cook the soup, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. You can also blend the soup in batches in a blender or food processor.

To make the garnish, stir together the sour cream and honey in a small bowl. To serve, ladle the hot soup into warmed bowls and drizzle the top of each with the sour cream mixture. Garnish with freshly chopped tarragon.