Acorn Squash Soup recipe from “Taste of the Gunflint Trail”
Last week's "Taste of the Gunflint Trail" event, a fund raiser for the future Chik-Wauk museum and nature center, was a big success. It was a perfect day to drive up and down the Gunflint tasting specialty items at the many resorts and outfitters along the trail.
If you've never seen the "Taste of the Gunflint Trail" cookbook, we highly recommend it even if you aren't the type who would read a cookbook for fun. The book retells the history and lore of all the old businesses along the trail, and then provides a few recipes associated with each of the places. It's entertaining reading even if you skip the recipes. Profits from the cookbooks normally support the Gunflint Trail fire department (on Saturday profits also went to Chik-Wauk) so buying the book contributes to a very worthwhile cause.
Bearskin's recipes in "Taste of the Gunflint Trail" were all provided by Sally Bresnahan, better known as the legendary "Chef Sally," who cooked at Bearskin until she retired to move to Nebraska in 2003. We decided to attempt making Sally's "Acorn Squash Soup" recipe from the book, knowing full well that we might not be able successfully duplicate Chef Sally's culinary skills.
It took the efforts of four of us to somehow make enough soup for the "Taste" event. As a first attempt, it turned out pretty darn good. We served 72 small cups of the soup on Saturday and received many compliments on its tasty flavor.
Since that time we've had numerous requests for the recipe. The "Taste of the Gunflint Trail" cookbook is readily available in Minnesota bookstores and public libraries, but for those of you who can't easily find the book here is Chef Sally's delicious acorn squash soup recipe:
Acorn Squash Soup
4 acorn squash
3 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
½ cup sherry
1/3 cup water
1 tbl. butter
1 tbl. flour
1 tsp. salt
dash red pepper
1 can chicken broth
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/2 – 1 tsp. pepper paprika
dash ground allspice
dash red pepper
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 tbl. sherry
Kale leaves (optional if serving soup in squash shells)
Cut squash in half lengthwise, and remove seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a broiler pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of ½ – 1 inch. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Spoon pulp from squash and save. Squash shells can be used to create a serving bowl for this soup.
Place carrots, onion and ½ cup sherry in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain; combine vegetables with reserved pulp and 1/3 cup water in container of an electric blender or food processor. Process until mixture is smooth (we had some trouble with this part as it is quite a large amount and ended up using a KitchenAid mixer instead.) Set aside.
Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over low heat. Add flour, salt and red pepper, stirring until smooth. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add pureed vegetables, chicken broth, nutmeg, paprika, allspice and the pepper paprika. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Stir in half-and-half and an additional 1 – 1/2 tbsp sherry. Cook until heated. If desired, serve in squash shells on a bed of kale. Garnish with paprika just before serving.
Yield: 8 servings