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In an attempt to empty out the freezer, I decided to try something new. I had heard of using cheese rind to flavor soup, but never actually done it. Chocolate & Zucchini’s Broccoli Mimolette Soup recipe last February intrigued me, but I never got around to making it while it was still winter. That said, I started saving Parmesan rinds and a Mimolette rind and adding them to a ziploc in the freezer.
I got home last Wednesday night and it really felt like fall – chilly, windy, gray. And, I wanted soup right away. I don’t love soup the way most people seem to — but sometimes I really crave it. So I started looking through the freezer — I found some leftover butternut squash (already pureed) in the freezer from when I made a squash risotto at the end of March — and it was high time to use it. I also found my ziploc of parmesan rinds.
I had a vague idea that squash would definitely work with the Parmesan since they work very well together in risotto. And I wanted to add depth to the flavor without currying it, so I settled on cumin and pepper as my spices, but held back on others like coriander. And I ended up with this soup. Note that I wrote the recipe assuming your squash is not already cooked and pureed from another recipe, so the cooking times are much longer than you may have patience for on a weeknight.
Parmesan Infused Butternut Squash Soup
(for 2-3 people)
1 medium onion, chopped
1-2 Tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 pound butternut squash, cubed (about 1/2 an average sized butternut squash)
at least 1 healthy sized parmesan rind (I used 3)
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
Saute chopped onions in extra-virgin olive oil for five minutes and add cumin. Saute onions until transluscent (about ten to fifteen more minutes). They should have no crunch. Add the squash, saute for another five minutes and add 3 cups broth and the parmesan rinds.
When squash is soft (probably about 30-45 minutes later), remove the Parmesan rinds to a plate, and puree the squash/onion mixture. If you have a stick blender (I wish I did) puree right in the pot. Otherwise, let cool a bit before putting the mixture in a traditional blender. If you use pre-cooked and pureed squash, you might be able to get away with just mashing the mixture with a potato masher, especially if you prefer your soup chunkier.
When you are done pureeing the squash, return to the pot with the Parmesan rinds. It should look something like this:
You can see the rectangular cheese rinds in the middle of the pot. Depending on the texture of the soup and your preference, add more broth. Simmer with the cheese rinds until the soup achieves desired texture. Remove cheese rinds, scrape off any gooey cheese that may be melting off and stir into soup, and season with salt and pepper. Enjoy.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers