Fat and Happy Acorn Squash & Turnip Soup

Would you like something rich and creamy? How about Roasted Acorn Squash & Turnip Soup? Sounds good, huh?

I like creamy soups. In fact, I love creamy soups. Except sometimes I seem to like them even better when there’s no cream in them. Does that make any sense?

Sure sometimes a touch of cream will elevate a recipe. That’s because fat binds flavors together. It creates a sum that is greater than its parts. So I have no problem with cream. But there are other fats that do the job just as well as cream. Like butter. I have no problem with butter. In fact wasn’t it Julia Child who mockingly said: “If you are afraid of cream, just use butter.”? Or was it the other way around? Oh well. No matter. My point is– I am not one of those people who are afraid of fat, in any form. So if fat is called for in a recipe, and I believe it will make it better, I scream bring it on. No fear here.

In fact, I am far more afraid of chemically altered processed foods that are deemed “fat-free” than I am of any of the fats that God gave us. Because whenever I see “fat-free” printed in big bold chemical ink on my food I have to wonder what they replaced the fat with, and how the hell they got it out. Oh, and particularly– where in God’s name did they put it? But that’s a digression.

I wanted to talk about “health food” my way. It’s not a new concept but it has certainly fallen out of fashion.

Now I realize that many readers will think that I have no right to use the word “fat” or “cream” or “butter” when describing “health food”. Health food has rules, right? Not all of them are happy rules either. I am a different kind of “health food” blogger. I believe healthy eating starts in your soul and carries through to your brain. I believe happiness heals and that most of the well-being we appreciate comes from experiences that feed the soul. I believe happy people make happy (and reasonable) food choices. So when it comes to food, yep, I like real fat– because it makes me really happy. I don’t care how many calories you count, if your food doesn’t make you happy you will be emotionally overweight and overwrought– and it will show when you look in the mirror. Even if no one else can see it.

The flip side of this argument is foods that are particularly unhealthy will never satisfy your body. An unhealthy body leads to an unhealthy mind. Leading to all sorts of emotional turmoil, including an ongoing circular battle with poor food choices. Binge. Purge. Yes. No. Elation. Shame. Guilt. Sadness.

That’s where this rich and creamy Roasted Acorn Squash & Turnip Soup comes in. Sure there’s no cream in it, but you could add a tablespoon or two if it makes you happy. GREG

Roasted Acorn Squash & Turnip Soup serves 6 CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 1 (1 1/2 lb) acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 pn each, salt & white pepper, or as needed
  • 5 T unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks, cleaned, halved lengthwise and roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 2 clv garlic, peeled & smashed
  • 1 t sugar
  • 1/2 lb turnips, peeled & roughly chopped
  • 6 c chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pn ground coriander
  • 3 T brandy
  • 1/4 c celery leaves, as garnish (optional)

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the squash with salt and white pepper. Place 1/2 tablespoon butter into each cavity and place the squash halves on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until tender and caramelized for about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let it cool on the tray.

Melt the remaining butter in a medium soup pot set over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic. Sprinkle the mixture with sugar. Cover, and cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Add the turnips, stock, bay leaf and coriander then bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, season with salt and white pepper. Cover and cook another 20 minutes, until the turnips are very tender. Remove the bay leaf.

Scoop the flesh from the cooled squash halves straight into the soup pot. Using an immersion blender puree the mixture until very smooth, or use a standard blender working in batches if necessary. Return the soup to the soup pot (if using a standard blender) and add brandy. Bring the soup to a simmer and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with celery leaves. Serve warm in individual bowls.

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBC, Food Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in PanamaCosta Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured in Food & Wine Magazine, Los Angeles Times, More Magazine, The Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or at Homefries Podcast Network.