Calabaza (Squash) Soup
What makes this squash soup recipe stand out? The soup base. This isn’t just bone broth.You start with melted butter where you throw on thinly sliced sweet onions. You let the onion slices sweat over low heat in a covered pan until the edges are starting to brown. Caramelization of the onions’ natural sugars. You turn the heat up a bit and add bones.The bones and onions have to simmer for a couple of hours. The cooking liquid has to reduce by half to get concentrated flavors. At that point, you add your squash and continue simmering until the the squash is mushy.In this recipe, I used a combination of squash and potatoes to make a thicker and smoother soup. Squash does not have enough starch to make the coup velvety and potatoes help achieve that effect.
- ¼ cup butter
- 3 cups thinly sliced onion
- 1 kilogram meat bones pork, beef, chicken or turkey, or a combination of two or more of them; or see notes after the recipe
- mixed dried herbs see notes after the recipe
- 1 kilogram squash peeled seeds discarded then cubed
- 300 grams starchy potatoes peeled and cubed
- In a large and thick-bottomed pot, melt the butter.
- Toss the sliced onions in the hot butter until every piece is glistening with fat.
- Cover the pot and cook the onion slices over low heat until very soft and the edges are starting brown. Stir the onions occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Turn up the heat to medium-low and add the meat bones to the onions. Turn the bones every few minutes, stirring the onions around as well to prevent burning, and cook until the bones (any any meat attached to them) are starting to brown.
- Pour in about 10 cups of water, sprinkle in salt, pepper and herbs, and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer for two hours or until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste occasionally and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
- Scoop out the bones.
- Add the cubes squash and potatoes to the broth and bring to the boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the vegetables are mushy.
- Off the heat, plunge the immersion blender into the pot to liquefy the vegetables.
- Taste the squash soup. Adjust the seasonings one last time, if needed, before serving.
- To serve, sprinkle with slices scallions and fried shallots. Totally optional but these two additional ingredients do make a world of difference.
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I used meaty pork bones this time but note that you can substitute beef, chicken, duck, turkey or a combination of two or more kinds. The flavor of the broth will vary depending on the bones you use but the soup will be delicious just the same. If, like us, you stock up on bone broth (details here and here), you can shorten the cooking time of the squash soup by pouring in the broth after the onion slices have softened and partially caramelized. Season and, once the broth is boiling, just drop the vegetables and proceed as above. We use herb salt at home. Homemade. If you don’t have herb salt, just use pinches of dried herbs for the broth. I recommend rosemary, basil and a little oregano.
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