Sunday, April 22, 2012

Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Bean Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes (vegan)

For my birthday, the fiance gave me a snazzy new vegan cookbook!  I've been itching to try something from it (I have bookmarks all over it with the things I want to try).  Finally, we made something, and it was fantastic!

The fiance was intrigued by the shape of the end of the squash, he just had to take a picture.

It was such a pretty colored soup!  The recipe says to puree just half of it so there are still some chunks in it, but I just decided to puree all of it for a smoother texture.  Either would work!

I love mushrooms, so I'd recommend adding a few more than the recipe calls for.  They add a really interesting texture and umami flavor to the soup!

(If you were wondering, we ate this soup with naan.  Not the most culturally accurate addition, but it was really tasty!)

Acorn Squash, Pear, and Adzuki Soup with Sauteed Shiitakes
Serves 6

2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch slices
2 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
2 acorn squashes, seeded, peeled, and cut into 3/4 inch chunks (the best way to deal with prepping the squash is to cut it in half, seed it, and then cut it into chunks.  Use a paring knife to slice off the skin)
2 firm Bartlett pears, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thin (not paper-thin) slices, roughly 1 inch long
4 cups vegetable stock
1 - 2 (15 ounce) cans or 2 - 3 cups (cooked) adzuki beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice

4 - 6 oz. fresh shiitakes, slice in half
2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce

Preheat a large stockpot over medium heat.  Saute the onions and peppers in the oil for about 10 minutes, or until the onions just begin to brown.

Add the ginger and garlic, and saute for 1 more minute.  Stirring often, add the salt, five-spice, acorn squash, and pear, and cook for another minute before adding the vegetable stock.  Cover and bring to boil.  Once the soup is boiling, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer briskly for about 20 more minutes, or until the squash is tender.

Puree half (or all) the soup, using either an immersion blender or by transferring half the soup to a food processor or blender, processing, and pouring it back into the the rest of the soup.  Be careful if using a blender - let the soup cool a bit before blending it so it doesn't explode!

add the adzuki beans and lime.  Cover and simmer over low heat until the beans are heated through - 7-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms:
Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the oils and saute the mushrooms for about 7 minutes, until the are soft.  Mix in the soy sauce and stir constantly until it is absorbed (about 1 minute).

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the sauteed mushrooms.


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