Red Kuri Squash Soup
Rating: 5 out of 5 (healthy & simple food in its purest form)
Initial Thoughts: Even a soup avoider such as myself must admit to the allure of this beautiful bowl of squash goodness. Quintessential comfort food.
THE TEST: This month’s cover recipe was part of Food & Wine Magazine’s “Star Chefs’ Dream Recipes” feature, which took ten superstar chef-philanthropists and highlighted two of their best recipes. The criteria? Delicious, healthy and affordable. Along with the recipes, this article also profiled each chef’s charity of choice.
The cover recipe for Red Kuri Squash Soup comes from legendary food icon Alice Waters, whose recipe epitomizes her belief in food needing to consist of the “freshest seasonal ingredients that are produced sustainably and locally”. The listed ingredients are few, and really allow for the food itself to be showcased. Quality product is given a chance to shine, something that is too often forgotten in our fast paced lifestyles.
THE RESULTS: This soup was simple and pure in taste, the food taking centre stage and really driving home the point that you can’t beat quality ingredients. Each spoonful held a piece of the overall experience; from going to the farmer’s market and buying the produce to cooking it slowly over the stove with a book in one hand (I really did have a book in my hand while stirring the soup!) Everything slowed down and we were able to share and appreciate in the moment of being together and savouring a delicious meal.
I loved the roasted fennel and pecans that topped the soup and gave it a nice texture, and subtle anise flavour complimented the sweet squash. Could more flavour have been added by cooking the squash in stock (vegetable or chicken)? Would some spices or a herbed crème fraiche concoction of some sort added to the overall depth of the soup? Probably. But that would defeat the purpose, don’t you think?
For more information on Alice Water’s supported charity, The Edible Schoolyard Project, please click here
Red Kuri Squash Soup
As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.
NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com
NOTE: This month’s wine pairing courtesy of our resident wine expert, Kendall Harris, stood up well beside the softly flavoured soup and in no way did it overpower the food. The Barbera grape is one that my hubby and I were unfamiliar with previous to this recipe test, but we enjoyed this uniquely flavoured wine that even my zinfandel-loving husband appreciated. We will definitely be picking up more bottles of this one!
Wine Pairing by Kendall Harris of Wine2Three
There’s nothing more wonderful in the wintertime than a hearty soup, a light but filling meal that demands a warming red wine. I suggest a lighter red wine, one that won’t overwhelm this gorgeous soup. Pinot Noir is one possibility, but let’s expand our palates and try a grape called Barbera which hails from Italy – a place where they know a thing or two about pairing food and wine!
I can recommend a lovely Barbera d’Alba (Barbera grape from the region of Alba) by Ca’ du Rabaja. Barbera is a light skinned grape, so the resulting wine is light in body – a perfect companion for this soup. The first thing you’ll notice with this wine is a lovely, vibrant acidity, which is a recognizable characteristic about many wines from Italy (that acidity is what makes your mouth water, and what makes Barbera a very food-friendly wine). On the palate, you’ll notice bright cherry fruit and an intriguing hint of spice, along with an overall lightness that makes it a perfect pairing for this recipe. If you can’t find this specific wine, hover in the Italian section of your local wine store and look for the word “Barbera” on the label; you may see Barbera d’Alba or Barbera d’Asti…same grape, different areas, but both are lovely, refreshing red wines that would be a delightful match for a warming winter soup.
This month’s wine pairing suggestion is Barbera d’Alba by Ca’ du Rabaja
Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!