This is as simple a little soup as can be made; but serving it in the squash shell makes it look much fancier. I am ridiculously attracted to twee little presentation tricks, but have long since realized that while most of them look good in a photograph, they tend to interfere annoyingly with the actual eating. I’m happy to report that this is an exception. They must be handled carefully while being put in individual bowls, but even if the bowl does not fit the squash super snugly, they don’t move around as I was afraid they might while they are eaten. Still, if you have a fairly snug fitting bowl, it will be better. When you are slicing the squash, be sure you are doing it at an angle which will allow the pieces to sit well and be stable.
It is important to use a good quality, home-made stock for this soup, given how simple it is, and there is no reason not to add more seasoning than I did. My home-made stock had enough good flavours in it that I didn’t want to add more, but you must assess your situation. In spite of the smallish quantities involved you will likely have a little more soup than will fit in the squash shells; but leftover soup is not exactly bad news.
2 servings1 hour 30 minutes – 20 minutes prep time
1 450 gram (1 pound; medium) acorn squash1 small stalk celery1 small carrot1 shallot1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil2 cups chicken OR other stock
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out and discard the seeds and loose pulp. Rub the cut edges with a little oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes until tender but not mushy.
Meanwhile, wash, trim, and finely chop the celery and carrot. Peel and chop the shallot. Peel and mince the garlic.
When the squash has about 30 minutes left to cook, heat the oil in heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Cook the celery, carrot, and shallot for 5 to 10 minutes in it, stirring regularly, until softened and reduced in volume but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the stock. Simmer gently until the squash is cooked.
Scoop out the flesh from the cooked squash, leaving about 1/4″ left on the shells, and being careful to keep the shells whole. Dice the flesh and add it to the soup. Let is simmer for just a minute or two, then ladle the soup into the shells and serve. If not serving the soup right away, return the squash shell to the oven to keep warm.
Last year at this time I made Braised Pork Ribs & Squash.