Detoxing from Halloween with Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Good morning! I hope you had a great Halloween. I spent much of the day watching scary movies, reformatting my computer from Vista to Windows 7 and going to bed by 10:30 PM in order to be up at 5 AM for an early hospital shift – riveting, I know!


You’ve probably had enough of Halloween candy and sweets for a little while (I haven’t, but the scale says otherwise), so this recipe should help if you need some detox along the way.

scoopedseedspost roasting

The other day I made an Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup. It’s a little bit sweet and very tasty. It would make a great appetizer soup for a Thanksgiving dinner party to introduce the meal, or you can have it for weeknight dinner and enjoy the leftovers for a few more nights (like my husband and I did).


I changed a few things from the original recipe including leaving out shallots and chives. Because the squash and sweet potato would already be sweet, I didn’t want to introduce the sweet onion shallot flavor as well. Shallots can also be a little expensive.


I’d never worked with acorn squash before this actually, and it’s very easy. My trick to scoop out the insides after roasting the squash was to use a melon baller – the squash flesh came apart easily and without a lot of mess.


Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper to garnish.


Acorn Squash & Sweet Potato Soup
adapted from Pumpkins & Squashes

1 large sweet potato
1 medium acorn squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 3/4 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup light cream
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375F.

Cut sweet potato and squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out squash seeds and brush cut sides with oil

Place cut squash and sweet potato halves cut-side down in a shallow roasting pan (I used an old brownie pan). Add unpeeled garlic cloves around the vegetables. Roast for 40 minutes until tender.

When cool, pin down one end of the squash with a fork and scoop flesh (ie, the insides) from potato and squash with a melon baller, leaving the skins behind. Peel garlic and add soft insides and scooped flesh to a large saucepan.

Add the chicken broth and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for approximately 30 minutes, until vegetables are very tender. Stir occasionally.

Cool slightly and transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Work in batches so that you do not overflow your machine. If using a food processor, strain off the cooking liquid and reserve. Process the veggies with only enough liquid to moisten it, then combine with remaining liquid when fully processed.

Return soup to rinsed pan and stir in light cream. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes or until heated through. Garnish as desired and serve!\

Christine Ilich's Apple Autumn Borscht

One of the great things about volunteering at L’Academie (besides the great recipes and hands-on learning) is meeting the chefs. It’s great to be exposed to the different kinds of styles, to hear their story on how they became who they are today and to just pick their brains. Every chef reached their dream in a different way and a few of them realized their dream wasn’t what they first thought it was.

Whole Lotta Beets

Christine Ilich is a formally trained chef that I’ve mentioned briefly before after volunteering for one of her classes. She runs her own business, Heirloom Kitchen, in Front Royal making homemade soups, breads and sweets. I can tell you that her bread baking classes are immensely popular, but it was her soups that hooked me. We made three; a bisque, minestrone and a chowder. All very different, all amazing and all flexible with the recipe (cooking is an art!). I was a fan. During the class we somehow got on the discussion of other soup and she mentioned today’s recipe: Apple Autumn Borscht.

Preparing Apple Autumn Borscht

I had never worked with beets before, never mind made a borscht, so this was a great experience to broaden my horizons. While the ingredient list for this dish isn’t particularly long, its flavor is deceivingly complex. I dare say most would not be able to identify the ingredients from taste. I strongly recommend you try this recipe and if you have any questions for Christine, send her an e-mail.

Apple Autumn Borscht

Apple Autumn Borscht
Chop the vegetables into large pieces since everything will be pureed in the end.

3 tablespoons butter
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 apples, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
6 medium sized beets, peeled and chopped
2 large or 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cups heavy cream
Salt & pepper
Sour cream

Place butter, carrots, apples, onion and ginger in heavy bottomed soup pot. Sauté until vegetables are softened, but not browned (a little color is ok). Add beets and cover with water. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until beets are starting to soften. Add sweet potatoes (and more water if needed, to just cover the potatoes) and cook until all veggies are very soft. Add spices and lemon juice. Puree the mixture in blender with the cream. Taste and re-season if necessary, with spices, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.