Blue ballet squash, a small, sweet variety of blue hubbard squash, shares the spotlight with celeriac in this creamy, vibrant winter soup. I enjoy it with Aleppo pepper flakes, but it would be equally tasty garnished with creme fraiche, pepitas, fried sage leaves, crumbled bacon, or chile oil. It’s a solid contender for your Thanksgiving table (if you and your guests are celeriac lovers; if not, there’s an option written into the recipe just for you), and because it freezes so well, you can make a double batch and save some for later.
Roasted Blue Ballet Squash and Celeriac Soup
Special equipment: immersion blender* (you can also use a regular blender, but the immersion blender works better)
Olive oil or butter
1 onion, peeled and cut into large dice
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
1 tart apple, peeled and cut into large dice
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into large dice (if you don’t like the flavor of celeriac, you can make this soup with 2 stalks of celery, cut into a large dice, and added with the onions and carrots. The celery flavor is less pronounced this way, giving you a more squash-centric soup).
5 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 small blue ballet squash, kuri squash, kabocha squash, or a similar squash, seeds removed, flesh roasted*
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, for sprinkling
Aleppo pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
1. In a large soup pot or stock pot, heat enough olive oil or butter to generously coat the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and carrots with a few healthy pinches of salt and saute until lightly golden. If you are using celery in place of celeriac, add that with the carrots and onion.
2. Add the apple and cook for another minute or two, then add the celeriac, stock, and water. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook until the celeriac is tender, easily pierced with a fork. (If you’ve used celery, simmer for 15 or 20 minutes).
3. During the last few minutes of cooking, add the roasted squash flesh and let it heat through. Remove the soup from heat, then puree with an immersion blender (or, in lieu of that, transfer the soup to an upright blender and blend in batches, being careful to vent the lid so the soup doesn’t explode all over you, then return it to the pot). Taste the soup and adjust salt as needed.
4. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top and stir it into the soup. I don’t give an exact amount here, because cinnamon can very in strength. I use a strong Vietnamese cinnamon for most savory cooking, and a generous 1/4 teaspoon is good for me. The cinnamon is meant to be a faint background note, not a main player.
5. Serve with pepper flakes, if using. The soup keeps for about a week in the fridge; it also freezes beautifully.
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