From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is another of my "-ish" dishes. Crema de Zapallo is a soup that is served throughout Peru, and while it is called a pumpkin soup, it is actually made from a large squash that bears no resemblance to its American cousins. Its flesh is creamy when cooked and wonderfully mild. Therein lies the problem. I had this soup many times when we were in Peru, but because it is so mild, each cook seasoned it differently and none of the versions I had were alike. I encountered the same problem when I searched for recipes once I was home. There appears to be no standard way to make this soup, so I decided to make a version of my own. Zapallo are not sold in this area, so I chose to use butternut squash in its stead. It is easier to work with than some of the other hard shelled varieties and the fact that I could buy it already cubed spoke volumes to me. While most versions of the soup are made with condensed milk, I wanted the special richness that cream can provide to simple soups like this, so cream made it to the final cut. The use of red onion, by the way, is not an oversight on my part. Peruvian cooks prefer their mildness and do not use white or yellow onions in their cooking. I deliberately kept spicing to a minimum because I wanted the flavor of butternut squash to dominate the soup. If you are looking for a mildly flavored creamed soup to serve as a first course for a special meal, I think you will find this recipe helpful. The soup is easy to make and comes together quickly. You'll want to adjust salt to your personal taste and if the soup becomes too thick don't hesitate to add more stock. Here's my version of Crema de Zapallo.
Crema de Zapallo - Peruvian Squash Soup...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
3 tablespoons butter
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoons aji chile powder or Hungarian sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt + salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds cubed butternut or acorn squash
1 cup heavy cream (light cream or whole milk can be substituted)
Sour cream or chives or bacon or croutons
1) Melt butter in large saucepan on medium-low heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until softened but not yet browned. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in chile powder, ginger, nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook for 1 minute longer. Add squash and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered, for 25 minutes or until squash is tender.
2) Puree mixture using an immersion blender, or, working in batches, puree mixture in jar of an electric blender until smooth. Return mixture to pan if necessary.
3) Stir cream into pureed mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until heated through. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream if desired. Yield: 6 servings.
One Year Ago Today: Enchiladas con Huevos
Two Years Ago Today: Southwestern Skillet Chicken with Black Beans and Rice
Three Years Ago Today: Old-World Rye Bread