Winter squash used to be the first baby food “food” back in the day when my kids were little. The pediatricians told us to feed just a little bit at first and start with squash because it’s sweet and most babies like it.
Of course they do. Grownups like squash too. Even grownups who don’t like other vegetables. Because squash is sweet and nutty tasting. There’s nothing harsh or bitter about it. It doesn’t taste like what many vegetable-haters say is “vegetably.”
I’ve cooked all sorts of squash, but had never cooked a turban squash before. That’s one there in the first photo. It’s a bumpy thing with a flattish-round base and a hat-looking bubble top. Looks like a turban. Imagine that.
Turban squash are often orange or green, but I’ve also seen blue and yellow ones. Some people buy them to use as decorations, but they are edible. You can peel, cut and boil the flesh, but like other winter squash, it tastes sweeter when roasted.
Cooked turban squash is kind of silky and smooth, which makes it a perfect variety for soup and recipes like quickbreads and muffins. So I made soup with the turban squash I bought. If I had been careful when I scooped the flesh I could have served it right inside the squash.
But I wasn’t.
1 large turban squash (2 cups packed, mashed, cooked squash)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt to taste
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 to 1 cup cream, coconut milk or soy milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the smaller top from the squash, scoop the seeds and place the top back. Wrap the squash in aluminum foil and roast for about an hour or until tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop the cooked flesh into a bowl and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in the squash, tomato paste, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and salt to taste. Stir to blend the ingredients. Gradually stir in the stock. Bring the liquid to a boil, partially cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree the soup in a blender or with a hand blender. Return the puree to the pan and stir in the cream (start with 1/2 cup, taste and add more as desired for richness). Heat through. Makes 6 servings
*Can be made with any cooked winter squash