Friday, January 29, 2010

Hibernating in the Kitchen

January is long and cold in New Hampshire. Sunshine is in short supply and I find comfort in the kitchen, digging out my collection of recipes for hibernation. There are the soups, of course, along with homemade bread and pizza dough. It's also time to get creative with all the food that I've put up from last summer and fall. Here's what's in store:

Delicata squash
Red Kuri squash
pounds of garlic

In the freezer...
maple syrup
Swiss chard
jars of apple sauce

That's a lot of food for two people. But during the growing season, out in the sunshine, when the picking is good, I can't stop myself. I pick and save everything that comes my way. Oh, I didn't mention the wild mushrooms, did I? Yes, I have them too, dried and frozen maitakes, oysters and chanterelles. All these will surely find their way into my weekly meals that I deliver to the Walpole Grocery.

First up is the Red Kuri squash, also called Hokkaido. It is prolific and carefree in the garden, a long keeper that gets better with age, like most women ;-).

Red Kuri Squash after harvest last September--Photo by Amy

Last week, I made Thai Curry Squash Soup to drop off at WG. It went over so well, I made it again this week. I start with two large Red Kuri squashes, about 5 lbs each. Don't peel them yet, just cut them in half, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, then roast them in a 450F oven until they're cooked through, about 30 minutes to an hour. Roasting winter squashes intensifies their sweetness. Even better, the roasting warms the kitchen and I just love the sweet, yummy aroma.

Fresh from the oven

When cooled, I peel away the skin and puree the flesh in the food processor, thinning with water when necessary. The two 5 lbs squashes I started with yielded about 6 lbs of peeled and cooked squash. A French farmer once compared the taste of the Red Kuri to a chestnut. I think the resemblance stops at the texture, it's mealy and sweet. Mealy may not sound appealing but, trust me, in this case it works. If you're not familiar with this heirloom, give it a try.

Thai Curry Squash Soup
10 lbs Red Kuri Squash or any kind of winter squash, roasted and pureed (see above)
15-oz can coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
4 cups water
2 TBS green curry paste, or to taste
1 stalk lemon grass, cut into 3" lengths, crushed
3 kaffir lime leaves
fish sauce or salt to taste
2 cups fresh Swiss Chard or other greens

To a 6 qt. soup pot, add coconut milk and curry paste. Simmer a minute or two then add 4 cups of chicken stock. Add the pureed squash, stirring as you do to get out the lumps. Thin soup with additional 4 cups of water or until desired consistency. Add lemon grass and lime leaves. Simmer another 15 to 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Season to taste with fish sauce. Just before I take it to the store I add the Swiss chard for color and texture. Makes 5 quarts.

Thai Curry Squash Soup

Don't forget to fish out the lemon grass and kaffir lime leaves before serving. Bon Appetit!


Insurance Telemarketing said...

Ahhh, sounds so good!! I'm going to get this one down.

jennifer said...

oh wow.... YUM! i want some!!! wish i could find some of that kind of squash around here... or that we could come for a visit soon... i can't believe it's almost february! hope you are well.

HousiGirl said...

I want a necklace made of the red kuri squash...such a gorgeous color & shape!

mmmmgoood soup!

Ting said...

They are beautiful and best of all, quite tasty!