acorn squash puree & potato-leek soup

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There were a lot of great finds at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market this past Saturday. I couldn’t help myself and bought a little bit of everything:

Savoie Organic Farm: kohlrabi, shallots, garlic, acorn squash, masquerade potatoes
DanLynn Farms: honey, honeycrisp apples
Wm. Schober & Sons: yellow peaches
Fruitwood Farms: green grapes
Flaim Farm: scallions, leeks
Viereck Farms: yellow cherry tomatoes
Springdale Farms: cherry berry tomatoes, mini pumpkin

Below are recipes for acorn squash puree (for pumpkin pie) and creamy potato and leek soup (a Joe favorite).

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homemade acorn squash puree

I am a September baby and recently turned 35! Joe gifted me two beautiful cookbooks (BREAD TOAST CRUMBS by Alexandra Stafford and Flour by Joanne Chang). Inspired by Chang’s Super-Pumpkiny Pumpkin Pie recipe, I prepared and froze an acorn squash puree to later bake into a pie. The puree recipe is similar to a previous post for homemade pumpkin puree.

1 medium-large acorn squash, halved from top to bottom, seeds and pulp removed

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat to 375 degrees. Place squash halves cut-side down on a parchment lined sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes (or less) until the flesh can be easily pierced with a fork. Turn halves over and continue to roast for another 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes, or until the halves can be easily handled. Scoop flesh from the skins and puree in a food processor until smooth. Drain the puree in a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl for at least 1 hour.

Puree can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for two months. This puree can be used in your favorite recipes just like the canned pumpkin product.

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creamy potato-leek soup

I made this soup for Joe when we were dating and he really enjoyed it. The crunchy texture of the croutons and smoked paprika flavor won him over. The ratio of soup to crouton should be 70/30 – and the croutons should be on the large side. If you want to go the extra mile, bake your own bread and toast up well seasoned cubes. Check out Alexandra Stafford’s blog for her easy and delicious Peasant Bread Master Recipe.

2 TBSP unsalted butter
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 ½ C cubed crusty bread
4 slices bacon, chopped (optional)
3 large leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4-5 C low-sodium chicken stock or broth
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
½ C heavy cream
1 ½ C frozen peas (do not thaw)
¼ C fresh parsley, chopped
½ C sharp cheddar cheese, large grate

*Notes: I used 15 masquerade potatoes for this recipe and roasted half in advance. I used 6 small leeks and roasted half in advance. The roasted potatoes and leeks were added back into the recipe with an additional ½ cup of stock by pureeing them with half the soup (see below italicized font). You may skip roasting the potatoes and leeks and follow the recipe as is.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Make the croutons: Melt 1 tablespoon butter, then mix with the paprika in a bowl. Add the bread cubes and toss. Spread on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a large saucepan over medium heat until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate. Discard all but about 1 tablespoon fat from the pan. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then add the leeks and garlic; cover and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the broth, 2 cups water, the potatoes and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, partially covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

*Puree half the soup in a blender, if using: include the roasted potatoes, leeks, and ½ cup stock, (remove the filler cap to let steam escape), then return to the pot. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Add the peas and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with the croutons, bacon, cheese and parsley.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

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