Epic Squash and Carrot Soup…starring #beer from Stone…

My wife and I had a family member visit on her way through town recently, and as a surprise to us, we were given a batch of squash from northern Maine.  Two acorn and a blue hubbard, and they looked amazing.  What to do, what to do.  A couple of days sitting on the countertop got my subconscious ticking away, and I decided it would be a good time to whip together some soup.  December hasn’t quite been December this year around these parts, but no snow hasn’t kept the cold out, either, and that is prime soup weather.

I got nosing around the food websites, searching for recipes with blue hubbard squash as one of the main ingredients.  I finally found one that sounded pretty interesting, and more importantly, we had all of the ingredients, which is paramount in any cooking endeavour.  As my wife and I are both notorious for, the recipe became little more than a guideline, and I thought it pertinent to write it down somewhere if I was ever to attempt to recreate it again.  With that in mind, here it is:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

3 cups diced carrots

3 cups diced squash (you can use acorn, blue hubbard, butternut, etc)

2 teaspoons fresh ginger root, grated

7 cups chicken broth (or veggie)

1 cup half and half

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

12 oz Stone Vertical Epic Ale 11.11.11

In a large saucepan, cook the onions in the olive oil until translucent, but don’t let them brown.  Once cooked, add the garlic and stir until aromatics are abundant.  Add the carrots, squash, ginger root, and chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer.  You will simmer until the veggies are very tender, which took me about 30 minutes.  Halfway through this simmer process, add the 12 ounces of Stone’s Vertical Epic Ale 11.11.11 (review of beer to follow).  Once the veggies are soft and mashable, remove from heat and allow to cool a bit.  While the cooked veggies are cooling, bring out an additional large pot.  Place the brown sugar and maple syrup in the bottom of the new pot.  Now that the veggies and broth have cooled a bit, you are going to blend the crap out of them.  We used our blender, but if you have a food processor or beaters, you can use them as well.  Once blended to near baby-food consistency, pour into the new pot over the brown sugar and syrup.  Gently warm while stirring completely to mix all the ingredients.  Add the half and half and nutmeg.  Continue to stir and cook all the way through.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve warm.  Enjoy!  I know we did.  Goes great with grilled cheese sandwiches, or all on its own.

Obligatory beer review follows here:

Poured from a bottle into a large wine glass, the beer is a vibrant, ruby-hued amber coloring with a steady dose of carbonation bubbling and a thin film of beige head.  Very clean looking brew.  Light clinging to the glass, but nothing that holds for a great length of time.  Aromas of slightly sour and bready yeast characteristics, light candied and toffee malt profile, and sweet greens.  The beer’s flavors are dark roasted initially, with a baked caramel sweetness and some earthy tones to balance.  There is a slight spicing throughout, with some pepper and clove presence.  Medium bodied, there are only the slightest hints of the chiles throughout, but they help to keep the beer clean.  The aftertaste is more of the tangy malt and slightly sour yeast, with a cinnamon spicing at the very end.  The finish is clean, and slinks away without much distraction from the beer itself.  Very tasty brew!

With that, you now have a beer review and a recipe in your pocket.  I hope you are able to enjoy one, or both, at some time in your craft beer journey.  Drink educated my friends!

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