Is there anything more forlorn than left-over squash?

Left-over Squash

What to do with left-over squash from Thanksgiving dinner?  That forlorn lump of orange puree.  It’s not like it was ever the belle-of-the-ball like the turkey or mashed potatoes or even a favored player like the stuffing or the cranberry relish.  It’s not like everyone was clamoring for seconds, or even firsts, of the squash.  So, inevitably there’s left-over squash.

In our house we actually like squash but we still have left-overs, although I think this year’s variety, red warty thing, was a bit watery and bland .  Here’s where a little over-cooking in the past pays off.  You’ll remember that I bought a smoker this summer.  One of my strategies in learning the ins and outs of the smoker was to cook up batches of smoked pork and chicken beyond what we could eat in a short time so I’d have some extra (some might call them left-overs) to freeze for later.

Well, now is later and squash awaits.  Luckily we had some other ingredients languishing in the fridge; yellow beets bought at the farmers market in September but still in good condition and some ingredients newly acquired, shallots and beet micro-greens from the indoor farmers market last Saturday and some others bits from the supermarket.

Squash Soup (with Smoked Chicken, Yellow Beets and Micro-beet Greens)
This makes a rather thick soup – some might call it a stew

Ingredients

Smoked Chicken

3 T. Olive oil
1 stalk celery (include tender leaves), cut into medium pieces
1 med. yellow onion, cut into medium dice
3 C. squash, cooked and pureed
2 C. Chicken broth (canned is fine)
1 Smoked or grilled Chicken breast, cut into 1/2″ dice
1/2 t. marjoram
2 shakes Pepper Sauce (Franks, Tabasco, etc.)
1/2 C. light dry white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine, Vino Verde, etc.)

Garnishes

Chicken, beets and garnishes

1/3 Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1/4″ dice (about 1/2 C.)
1 large shallot, cut into medium dice
1/2 C. beet micro-greens or other small tender greens
1/4 C. Duck cracklings (or you could substitute French Fried Onions, or finely chopped pecans, or some other crunchy, nutty ingredient)

Preparation

Roast Beets, peeled

Roast the beets, whole, unpeeled and with at least 1″ of the stems intact at 400 degrees for 35 minutes.  When done, they should be easily pierced with a small knife.  Cool until they can be handled comfortably  and trim ends and rub off the skins.  Cut into 1/2″ dice. Reserve.

Roast Pepper

Pan roast the red pepper in a saute pan with a very light spray of cooking oil until the edges start to brown.  They should still have a little crunch.  Reserve.

Toasted Shallot

Toast shallot in a saute pan with a very light spray of cooking oil until the pieces soften and take on a nice toasty brown color.  Reserve.

Cut the chicken into 1/2″ or slightly larger dice.  Reserve.

Sweat a yellow onion and celery in olive oil until softened.  Add cooked squash, chicken broth, marjoram, salt and pepper, wine and hot sauce.  Heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes.

When the squash is heated through, ladle into large soup plates, garnish with peppers, shallots, duck crackling and beet micro-greens.

Squash Soup with Smoked Chicken, Yellow Beets and Beet Micro-greens

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