I think this is a great soup on a cool autumn day. One of the things I learned to love living in Phoenix was the chilies and spicy foods that were so abundant there. Having the jalapeno oil in this dish is just my little nod to Phoenix, plus the red and green flecks from the jalapenos against the yellow orange soup are so festive for the season. If you do not like things too spicy, feel free to omitt the jalapeno oil.
Roasted Acorn Squash Soup (feeds 4)
1 Acorn Squash (about 2 ½ pounds), sliced in ½ length wise and deseeded.
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves of Garlic
6 – 8 cups Vegetable Stock (Chicken Stock can be substituted)
½ tsp of Ground Cumin
½ tsp of Dried Oregano
½ cup or more of Barley
Salt and Pepper to taste
Jalapeno Oil (recipe to follow)
First, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. With a bit of olive oil lightly coat the inside of your acorn squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 – 35 minutes, the edges should be browned and the squash should be tented when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Next, place a pot of water on high heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add your barley; stirring on occasion until barley is cooked through. (This may take a while; I find to cook barley thoroughly takes about 20 minutes.) Drain it and set aside until your soup is ready.
Meanwhile, in another pot (at least 4 to 6 quarts large ) place over medium to high heat and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil, your onion, carrot, and garlic. Stir so all your veggies are coated and cooking evenly. After about 3 minutes add your cumin, oregano, and & freshly ground black pepper – let it all simmer together until fragrant. At this time your acorn squash should still be warm, but cool enough to touch. With a spoon scoop out the flesh of your squash and add to your pot of simmering veggies and spices. Giving it another good stir, and covering it with your vegetable stock. You want to let your soup come to a simmer at least for 15 minutes.
Finally, you want to take your soup off the heat and with an immersion blender, puree it all together. Please be careful in doing this – hot soup splattering is not fun, trust me! At this point your soup is just about ready. Taste and see if you need to season at all. Add in your barley and ready to serve. Upon serving sprinkle with Feta, and I like to drizzle in some of the jalapeno oil right into the individual bowls.
Notes: if you would like this soup to be hardier you can make more barley to add in. You can also thicken it up by adding a potato or two to it, but I personally like it without. It is also good if you have some nice crusty bread to serve it with.** Normally you should wait for a soup or anything for that matter to cool before pureeing, but if you are like me – I can never wait I am usually too hungry at that point.