Saturday, November 21, 2009

Creamy Delicata Squash and Curry Soup from Willie Green's Organic Farm

You can never have too many recipes for squash in the fall. And today when Jeff Miller from Willie Green's Organic Farm cooked up a pot of squash soup at the market, after one taste, I wanted his recipe. The lively flavors warmed my mouth with a curry zing. The warming flavors mingled with the squash. And under drizzly skies it was just the thing to tempt market shoppers.

Jeff rattles off easy recipes for everything he grows, but this is the first time that I remember Jeff sampling hot soups that feature his produce. I’m excited about a chef farmer showcasing his own recipes.

In the early 1980s, Jeff was a chef at Stars in San Francisco. One day he packed his bags and rode up to Washington on his motorcycle and became a farmer. (Read Jeff Miller's farmer profile in the revised edition of my book to be published by Timber Press spring 2010.)
Before the University District Market became official during the winter months, I subscribed to Jeff's winter CSAs when the fall market ended. Jeff always has great ideas for cooking up what he grows. And this season he's cooking up samples for market customers.
It's obvious when Jeff talks about food, he's talking about his passion. He can tell me when the collards are sweet because of the freezing weather or give me some ideas for rapini. When Jeff hands out a recipe, you can bet it's something good. I asked if could share this one.

This version lists chicken, and for those who prefer vegetarian, try sliced mushrooms for that meaty texture. Dry fry about a cup and a half of sliced mushrooms (porcini or portabello are best) over medium heat ( I use a cast iron skillet), stirring constantly until they squeak and then lose their moisture. Remove mushrooms from the heat and chop before adding to the soup. Then, use a vegetarian broth instead of a chicken broth.

Creamy Delicata Squash and Curry Soup by Jeff Miller at Willie Green's Organic Farm
(Serves 4 to 6)
Jeff says, “Vermont curry is a name brand that can be found in Asian markets. It’s one that I’ve found to have the best flavor. It is a yellow curry in a compressed type of brick. Break off pieces and add to your dish. It will dissolve in hot liquids.”

1/2 yellow onion—coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 delicata squash, cut in half and seeded
1 large Yukon Gold potato, small dice
1 chicken breast, small dice
4 cups chicken stock
Brown sugar to taste
Yellow curry to taste
Olive Oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup coconut milk
Sea salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash cavity side up on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper, a small pat of butter and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Bake uncovered until flesh can be pulled away from the skin.
2. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water over medium high heat until 3/4 done. Strain, cool and set aside.
3. In a 4-quart sauce pot, saute diced chicken breast in olive oil over high heat. Season with a little salt and pepper. When chicken is browned and caramelized, remove from pot and set aside.
4. Using the same pot saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 2 more minutes. Do not brown.
5. Add scooped delicata squash and chicken or vegetable stock to onion-garlic mixture and stir in (Vermont) curry to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Cool slightly, then place in a blender with ½ of the potatoes. Blend until smooth. Pour back into pot and add the remaining potatoes, chicken and coconut milk. 6. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

While I'm stocking up on some green tea at a local Asian market, I think I'll hunt down some of that Vermont curry Jeff mentioned. The only tweak I'm making with Jeff's soup is to add some of Jeff's amazing celery. It's got the best flavor, and if you haven't tasted Willie Green's celery, you must get to the market and look for before the season is over.

Jeff laughed and said he looked better in profile when I said I wanted to snap this photo.

"Next week I'm doing cannillini beans," Jeff called out as I was leaving his booth. I'm excited about his recipes, and next week is the perfect time to start gathering holiday treasures at the markets.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

This soup sounds simply wonderful. Love your photo's!