Friday, July 11, 2014

Pureed Squash Soup with Curried Paneer and Bacon

I just love multi-function kitchen tools...

The little girl apparently likes squash.  And because the little girl is a finicky eater, anything that she says she likes to eat, I will make/cook.  So I bought some squash, and set about making pureed squash soup.

Except that as the squash was cooking, I couldn't find my hand blender.  I knew I had one, because I'd made pureed soups before but for the life of me, I just couldn't find where it was!

In the middle of searching, what I found was a hand blender attachment to a hand mixer that I was no longer using because I felt it was too heavy.  But I took it out of storage because I had no other choice except to use it with the blender attachment.  Well, technically I could use the blender but that meant more things to wash, and more time required!

Anyway, long story short, I really could not find my hand blender and honestly, I did not want to buy another one, so I am happy that my (ex)hand mixer has a new lease on life, as a hand blender!

Anyway, here is my soup...

The cubes are curried paneer cubes... homemade, to boot.  But I don't think that I will make homemade paneer again.  It's rather like tofu and I prefer tofu.  Plus, for a liter of milk, I only got about 110 grams of paneer!  Which means it is very expensive compared to tofu!  In any case, croutons work just as well (or maybe even better) for this soup.

As for the bacon, I found a supplier of no-nitrite/nitrate bacon.  And she has scrap bacon for sale, for almost half the price of the slab bacon.  And since I needed bacon bits, I didn't really need slab bacon!

To make the soup...

about 800 grams squash, hard rind and seeds removed, diced/cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 teaspoon dried shrimp, soaked/rehydrated in a cup of hot water
       or about a cup of shrimp broth*
vegetable or chicken broth
cubed paneer or croutons
crispy bacon bits
about 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
salt, to taste
cream, to serve, optional

Saute the garlic and onion until soft and fragrant.  Add the squash cubes and a pinch of salt.  Add the dried shrimp with its liquids or the shrimp broth and enough vegetable or chicken broth to just cover the squash cubes.  Cook over medium heat until the squash cubes are very soft.  Blend the squash (with a hand blender on the stove, or a real blender, in which case, take the squash mixture off the heat and let it  cool a bit before whirring in the blender).  Season to taste.  Bring to a complete boil before serving.

At this point, the soup is quite good on its own, but it's better with cubed paneer (toasted, if preferred) or croutons.  And of course, crispy bacon bits!

The little girl ate her soup with a little rice on the side, but not everything else!  I guess this means that squash will be seen often on the dinner table...

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