The last day of winter is upon us, so say good bye with one last hearty soup featuring the delicious taste of sweet acorn squash. If you’ve never cut one before see suggestions at the end to help you along. Lentils are a “gold mine” of soluble and insoluble fiber, folate and iron, and a real friend to your arteries, while the squash is a great supplier of antioxidant vitamin A. If you want to make the quesadillas suggested below, be sure to add them to your menu this week so they will be on the shopping list. Leftovers make great lunches!
1 onion -- diced
1 cup(s) celery -- diced
1/2 acorn squash -- large, or double for small
7 cup(s) broth -- any
1 cup(s) brown lentils
2/3 cup(s) pearled barley
2 cup(s) chard -- cut thin strips
1. In soup pot, heat 4 Tbsp. (for yield of 8) butter or olive oil. Add onions, celery and squash. Stir to cover with oil then spread on bottom of pot, reduce heat to low medium, and cook covered for 5 min. Stir and cook covered 5 more min., adding a few Tbsp. water if looking dry.
2. Add broth, lentils and barley. Cover and simmer on low 30 min. In last 5 min. add chard, stir, and cover again.
3. Add salt & pepper to taste starting with 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper for yield of 8.
SERVING SUGGESTION: Use the remaining chard to make Yummy (Wink) Quesadillas to serve with the soup. For leftover acorn squash, cut into strips, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast along with something else that is already cooking (to save energy).
OPEN THE ACORN: Don’t let the thick skin intimidate you…it’s protecting the sweet and nutritious, light orange flesh which you will love. Cut the ends off with a large knife, stand squash on its flat end and cut skin away with knife starting at top and cutting down to the cutting board. Don’t worry about cutting away part of the ridges, and try a vegetable peeler too. When peeled, cut in half and scoop seeds out with large spoon. Cut into long slices and then turn knife 90 degrees to cut small 1/2” cubes. This video about cutting butternut squash will also help you.