acorn squash soup

Acorn Squash Soup

I have wandered around the country hand-selling Instant Pots to people by cooking for them, but I never remember to tell them to use my affiliate link, drat it. I’m so bad at trying to make money from my blog. I did make $12 in August somehow, though. I think it was from people clicking the link to 36 Questionsand then buying other things. I say that because the affiliate link fee for a .99 ebook is .04, and I didn’t sell anywhere near 300 copies of 36 Questions, from links or otherwise.

Let’s see… yeah, total copies sold, 92. So that’s not how I earned my $12. Hmm, I’m not sure I should have looked that up, because it makes me a little sad. Zero copies sold this month. I’m guess I’m not surprised, really. I wouldn’t buy it now, either — a bunch of reviews that say it’s too short doesn’t exactly constitute the kind of social proof that sells. But hey, $12 is $12, so I should not complain. And this is not a soup recipe, so let me get back to what I meant to write…

I’ve owned two Instant Pots. I’m using affiliate links so if you use them to buy, I’ll get 4% of the purchase price. Feel free to not use them, of course, but if you do decide to buy an Instant Pot from Amazon, please consider at least using AmazonSmile so that a tiny percentage of your purchase price — .5% — will go to a charity of your choice. And yes, a blog gets $4 out of a basic $100 purchase, a charity gets .50. Not exactly fair. Hmm, this blog post keeps getting off-track. Back to the point!

Anyway, the first one IP I owned was the 6Qt and I was perfectly happy with it, except that it was impossible to store in the van. It didn’t fit anywhere. In August, I traded it to my friend P for a Instant Pot Mini 3Qtwhich is less usable for some purposes, but fits in one of the overhead storage cupboards. If I lived in a real house and I cooked for other people, I would definitely want the bigger one, but the small one works fine for my purposes.

And yesterday’s purpose was squash soup! I debated buying pre-chopped squash at the store and if you’re not on a budget, you can save time by doing so. But it averaged out to be about twice as much, so I saved my $3 and bought a whole squash. I cut it in half, and pre-cooked it in the IP on high pressure for 12-15 minutes with a cup of water. (Because I have the small IP, I had to cook the two halves separately — I did the first one on 15 minutes and it was falling apart, so I did the second one on 12. I bet I could have gotten away with 10 for both of them — basically, this is just pre-cooking it enough to make it easy to scoop the meat out of the skin.)

I poured the water from the IP into a cup to save it for the soup, then turned the IP onto sauté, added a little olive oil and half a white onion, chopped. When the onion was lightly browned, I added about a tsp each of turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, plus half a tsp of paprika, to the onions and swirled it around briskly. This is called blooming the spices and it goes terribly wrong if they burn, so you might need to add some more oil first or a little of the reserved water. I didn’t add oil, but did add some water when they looked dry. I gave them a minute, then scraped the squash out of its skin into the IP, added a chopped apple (not peeled), and the reserved water, plus a cup of chicken broth, then closed the pot. I think I set it to 12 minutes on high pressure.

I then had a lovely conversation with my son, so when the IP dinged, I ignored it and let it go to its Keep Warm function. One of the great things about the IP is that you really don’t have to pay attention to it. None of the water is escaping, so your food is not going to burn or dry out. You can let it stand for hours and when you finally look at it, it’ll be warm and still tasty. But eventually, I got off the phone and opened the IP. I would usually add coconut milk, but I bought some sour cream a while ago and have been trying to use it up, so instead I added about a cup of sour cream. I squeezed in some honey, probably equivalent to a couple of tablespoons, and then sprinkled the top with salt. And then I used the immersion blender until it was a level of creaminess that I liked. If it had been too thick, I would have added more sour cream or maybe some more chicken broth. If it had been too thin, I would have been sad and probably added some stuff to it, i.e. leftover rice or quinoa.

I then sprinkled some parsley on the top so it would look pretty when I took a picture, but honestly, the parsley was my least favorite part. It was too bitter to go well with the sweet creaminess of the soup. Cilantro might have worked and mint or rosemary might have been nice, but a little swirl of greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon would have been terrific. Short version, don’t do the parsley, it’s not a net good.

So, could I make this soup without the IP? Sure. I could roast the squash in the oven, cook the soup on the stove. It would take forever — the oven roasting would probably be an hour at least, and I’d have to wait for the squash to cool before I could scrape it into the soup pot. I’d have to pay careful attention to the soup while it was on the stove so that it stayed at a low simmer and never boiled. And the van would get crazily hot from the heat of the oven and the stove. It would be a project. With the IP, soup’s not a project — it’s the kind of thing you can cook after a long day of driving, when you’re feeling lazy and tired.