You can use any small to medium size winter squash in this soup, but the long, narrow yellow-and-green sweet potato squash — also known as delicata squash — adds a gentle sweetness that blends especially nicely with the garlic and chilies in this soup. Easy to peel and seed, and with very little loose flesh to scoop out, sweet potato squash is also a delight to work with … definitely a squash to look out for.
Adapted from a recipe in Eating Well magazine.
Sweet potato squash soup with pinto beans and chard
1 cup dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried chilies
3 cups vegetable stock
3 cups water
1 sweet potato squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
1 tomato, chopped
1 pound green chard, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
fresh ground black pepper
Rinse the pinto beans and soak overnight covered in several inches of cold water with a little yogurt whey or lemon juice added. Drain after soaking, and cover with several inches of fresh cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the olive oil, wait a few moments, then swirl around to coat the pan. Toss in the onion, carrots, garlic and crushed dried chilies, and sauté until the vegetables start to brown, about 6 or 7 minutes.
Add the vegetable stock, water, sweet potato squash and tomato. Raise the heat slightly and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Simmer until the squash is soft, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and, using a hand blender, gently purée some of the soup to produce a light creamy broth (alternately, blend a cup of the soup in a blender a return to the pan).
Return the saucepan to the heat and stir in the beans and chard. Cover and simmer until the chard is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and plenty of fresh ground black pepper.
Serve hot in bowls. Serves 8.