Healthy Halloween Supper: Frankenstorm Squash Soup with Pumpkin Croutons (Kids Cook Monday)
|October 29, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Dinner, Recipes|
As my home state of New Jersey braces for Hurricane Sandy and with my sister (whose adorable Cape–where my kids and I stayed last summer–is frighteningly close to the ocean) under mandatory evacuation, my 4-year-old daughter Reese and I have been busy cooking Frankenstorm squash soup. I was thinking it would make a warm and healthy Halloween night supper–the perfect precursor to trick-or-treating. Now, with close family and countless others in direct line of this monster storm, the last thing on my mind is costumes and candy.
For the past 24 hours, I have been tuning into The Weather Channel for updates. The winds are already gusting and the surf churning. It doesn’t look good. But I temporarily put it out of my mind as I chop squash and onions with my first mate, Reese. Just one of the many things I love about cooking! Even when doing it with a 4-year-old, I find it totally therapeutic.
Adapted ever so slightly from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook, this squash soup recipe is easy, foolproof, and super-yummy. A marriage of two kinds of squash (butternut and pumpkin), it has a full, rich flavor. The half-and-half works to cut the squashy taste a bit. I personally like it just as much without the half-and-half.
Reese assisted me in numerous ways: fetching the trash can for the butternut squash peels; dumping the onions and squash into the stock pot; stirring the onions as they cooked; turning on the Vitamix when it came time to puree. I always marvel at how much my kids enjoy helping in the kitchen–or even simply watching me cook. Being involved really does make them more willing to try unfamiliar foods and more eager to eat ones that they’ve previously tasted and rejected.
I made the pumpkin-shaped croutons with a paring knife. I tried using Halloween cookie cutters but actually found it easier to do by hand. After cutting out the shapes, I tossed them with olive oil and baked them in the oven (set at 400 degrees) for about 15 minutes or until they turned golden brown on the edges.
I hope your kids love this soup. But much more important, I hope everyone (including my parents, other relatives and numerous friends) in the path of Hurricane Sandy stays safe.
Frankenstorm Squash Soup
Adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 2 medium onions)
1 (15-ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
3 cups low-sodium canned chicken or vegetable broth
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup half-and-half
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add onions and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes or until translucent. Add pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken or veggie broth, salt and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a food processor or blender. Return to the pot, add the half-and-half, and heat slowly. Adjust seasonings to taste.