An easy, tasty way of cooking winter root vegetables is to bake them. Winter squash, potatoes, onions, yams, garlic-even beets, apples or pears work well. Simply wash well, then bake in a preheated 400° oven until soft when squeezed. That’s it.
Squash and yams can be cooked longer, until the natural sugars caramelize and the meat is smooth when spooned from the skin. Use baked vegetables as a side dish, in purees, soups or as a moist base for baked goods such as muffins, cakes or quick breads.
Chipotle Butternut Soup
Chipotle peppers made into a paste can be stirred into soup to lend zing and a hint of smoky flavors. Serve the chipotle paste separately so guests can season their soup to taste.
>> 1 medium organic butternut squash
>> 1 organic garnet yam
>> 1 organic sweet onion
>> 1 head organic garlic
>> 1 teaspoon organic olive oil
>> 2 organic chipotle peppers
>> 1 organic ancho pepper
>> 3 cups organic vegetable stock
>> 1/2 teaspoon salt
>> 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
>> 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
>> 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400°. Wash squash, yam, onion and garlic, then place on baking sheet. Drizzle oil over onion and garlic. Bake all vegetables, turning each several times, until all are soft when squeezed. The onion and garlic will be fully cooked after about 1 hour, the squash and yam after about 1 1/2 hours.
As each vegetable is cooked, remove from oven and cool. Place dried peppers in small bowl and cover with 1 cup boiling water. When fully softened, drain water into small saucepan. Slice peppers, composting
seeds and stems, then chop peppers and add to saucepan. Bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and cook until water has cooked off and peppers are softened, about 10 minutes. Set aside. Slice squash in half, then spoon out and compost seeds and stringy center. Scrape squash meat away from the skin and place in a food processor or blender. Peel the yam and add it with the peeled and chopped onion and 4 cloves roasted garlic to processor bowl. Puree the mixture until completely smooth. Transfer all but ½ cup of puree to a large saucepan. Whisk in the stock, salt, pepper and cinnamon into saucepan, then bring the soup to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 20 minutes to marry the flavors. Meanwhile, add simmered dried peppers to processor and puree with remaining squash until smooth. Serve the soup warm with toasted pumpkin seeds and the pepper paste alongside as a spicy garnish.
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