02 October 2009

It's definatly Fall in Michigan

We have had our first frost and the weather has been chilly the last couple of days. I had to find my sweaters and I'm packing up the shorts and tank tops in recognition of the fact that it will not be warm enough to wear them again for a while. So in honor of that change I made some delicious soup :) Squash soup is one of those things that I never remember having until I was in high school, but hooboy is it one of my favorite things about seeing the winter squash showing up at the Farmer's Markets. This was kind of an experiment and to my great delight it turned out so delicious!!

You'll Need
8 cups stock (chicken or veggie work best)
2 medium butternut squash, seeded and peeled, in 1" chunks
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 tablespoon harissa*
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh sage
pinch of salt
sour cream to serve with

In a large (7 qt) slow cooker mix the squash, sweet potato, and onion. Add the harissa, sage, thyme, salt, and the stock. If the liquid is not enough to cover all of the squash, add water to top off. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8-10 hours. Use a blender or food mill to puree the soup until smooth. Top with a dollop of sour cream to cut the heat slightly. Eat and enjoy!

*Harissa is a North African hot pepper condiment. I really like the one from Moulins De Majoub, but if you can't find one here's a simple one you can whip up for your fridge.

12 dried red chiles
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 cloves garlic peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-6 tablespoons olive oil

Discard the stems and seeds from the chiles, then place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak 30 minutes until softened. In a heavy skillet heat the coriander and cumin seeds until they smell aromatic. Grind to a powder in a grinder. Drain the chiles and place in a blender with the garlic coriander mixture and salt. Blend together, trickling in the olive oil until the sauce has a mayonnaise-like consistency. To store, put in an airtight container and cover with olive oil and refrigerate.