Smoky Spanish Soup with Winter Squash and Ham

I’ve been looking for interesting things to do with the surplus winter squash we’ve been getting for weeks and weeks from our CSA. I’ve made Elise’s Pumpkin Bread, with the addition of a streusel topping, for the folks at the office several times. The other obvious thing to do with the squash is soup, but I’m not too fond of traditional sweet squash soups with cinnamon and pumpkin pie spices. Then Deb over at Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for Black Bean Pumpkin Soup, which sounded awfully good. The problem was, when I went to make it today, I hadn’t paid much attention to the ingredients list, so instead of 3 cans of black beans, I had 1 can of pinto beans, and instead of canned tomatoes, I had tomato paste, and instead of cumin, I had curry powder, and then I wanted to experiment with this new smoked pimento I got the other day, so the recipe underwent a bit of a metamorphosis. Like the Black Bean Pumpkin Soup that was the inspiration for this recipe, this is squash soup in which the squash is not the main character, but plays an important supporting role. The tomato paste and the smoked pimento give it a richness and a depth, and a deliciously subtle spice.

Here’s the recipe.

  • 3 or 4 T. butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 or 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 2 t. curry powder
  • 2 t. smoked pimento
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1 can of beans
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin or winter squash puree
  • 4 cups water
  • 10-12 oz. cooked ham, diced small
  • 3 T. balsamic vinegar

Saute the celery and onions in butter with the curry powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. When the onions have softened and are beginning to brown, add the beans and tomato paste. Mash up the beans a bit in the can with a fork before tossing them in. Add the squash and the water and simmer for 10-15 minutes for the flavors to meld. After the soup has simmered a bit, add the ham and vinegar, and its ready to serve.

Delicious!

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