Earlier I told you about Chef Jose Garces’ dinner that he’ll be hosting next Thursday night at Amada inside Revel in Atlantic City to celebrate his second book, The Latin Road Home. I was asked if I’d like to pick a recipe out of the cookbook to share with all of you, and I thought the Sopa de Calabaza con Cangrejo, Roasted Squash Soup with Crab and Zucchini, was a great recipe for locavores. Most of the ingredients will be plentiful late summer in our region – butternut squash, apples, garlic, zucchini, pumpkin seeds …
Calabaza, a tropical squash commonly known as Cuban pumpkin, is popular in creamy stews. Butternut squash, similarly dense, mellow, and slightly sweet, makes a good North American substitute. Here, the sweet, delicate lump crabmeat garnish is like icing on the cake. Lump crabmeat comes refrigerated in little tubs, pasteurized and precooked. You can also use canned.
Ingredients for soup
- 2 butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded, and diced (8 cups)
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 large Spanish onions, diced
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
- 1/4 cup minced garlic (12 to 16 cloves)
- 1/4 cup (12 to 16 cloves) Roasted Garlic
- 2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 3 qts Vegetable Stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup honey
Ingredients to serve
- 1 lb cooked jumbo lump crabmeat
- 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
- 1/4 cup Arbequina olive oil (see Sources)
- 2 small zucchini, diced small (1 cup)
- 1/2 cup toasted salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seed oil or extra virgin olive oil
- Place a rack in the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- To roast the squash, combine the squash, vegetable oil, and 2 tablespoons salt in a bowl and toss to combine. Spread the squash in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender and lightly caramelized, 10 to 15 minutes.
- To make the soup, melt the butter in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, apples, and the raw and roasted garlic and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cayenne and cook until the spice gives off a toasty aroma, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the stock and roasted squash and simmer until reduced by one-quarter. Stir in the heavy cream and cook for 10 minutes more.
- Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and purée until very smooth. Alternatively, use a handheld immersion blender to purée the soup in the pot. Strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth into a clean pot.
- Stir in the honey and season to taste with salt.
- To serve the soup, toss the crabmeat with the chives and Arbequina olive oil to lightly dress.
- Divide the soup among eight warmed bowls, garnish each with the crab mixture, zucchini, pepitas, and pumpkin seed oil, and serve.