Squash and Leek Soup

This week’s recipe comes from one of our regular customers at the Santa Clarita farmers market by way of my eldest son who works there.  We work on many of these weekly recipes as a family and both of our sons give creative input to the end result.   Having a CSA box is a wonderful way to bring the family or friends together at whatever point you are in your life.  With two college students at home, food is still a major focal point at our house and a way for us all to reconnect a few times a week. 

I see this as an amazingly versatile soup with endless possibilities – adding some spicy cooked shrimp, sliced chicken sausage or garnished with fried onions and toasted pumpkin seeds – but equally good just as prepared.  I never thought to combine pumpkin or squash with leeks and potatoes in a soup!  The end result is a creamy soup rich with flavors.  I made the recipe with a Sugar Pie pumpkin, but I know that any orange squash will produce an equally tasty result. 

Thank you May from Santa Clarita for sharing this – all I did was add the garlic!

1 orange flesh squash (Sugar Pie pumpkin, Acorn, Butternut or Kabocha)
2 T olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled whole
2-3 leeks, cleaned and sliced*
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3-4 large orange or white carrots or one bunch of round carrots, washed and sliced
32 ounce carton of low sodium, free range chicken broth

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut your squash in half and remove the seeds and strings and place cut side down on baking dish or cookie sheet.  Cover with foil and roast in the oven until soft and beginning to carmelize, about 1 hour.

While the squash is roasting, cut and prep all the other vegetables for the soup.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a soup pot.  Add whole garlic cloves and sliced leeks to the olive oil and stir-fry until starting to soften, 2-3 minutes.  Add potatoes and carrots, stir to combine and cook for another minute or two.  Add chicken broth and bring to boil.  Simmer until vegetables until tender, approximately 30-40 minutes.

When the squash is tender, cool slightly and scoop out the flesh and place in a bowl until the soup vegetables are ready, then add to soup and simmer for a few minutes together.  Blend the soup in batches in a blender or use a stick blender to puree the soup and then return to the pot for final warm up before serving.

*If you haven’t work with leeks before, they need to be cleaned well as dirt usually gets in between the layers.  I find it is easier to cut in half lengthwise – leaving the root on – and then fan the leek open and place under running water and rub the dirt away checking all the layers.  Pat dry with a towel and on a cutting board, slice off the roots and discard.  Cut the leeks in 1/4″ slices leaving about 3-4 inches of the dark green tops – you can discard them or use them for making soup stock.  The green portion is tougher and stronger tasting and needs to be cooked longer to soften.

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