Not a soup at all, this is really a gratin baked inside a hollowed-out acorn squash. Layers of toasted day-old french bread cubes were layered with swiss cheese that I had tossed with a little flour, and milk was poured over before baking.
The squash was then baked with it's lid on until it was very tender. The filling was very impressive--it puffed up beautifully!
Even more of a surprise was the flavor. I mean, who really expects such ingredients to come together so deliciously? The sweet, tender squash flesh was a perfect counterpoint to the soft, cheesy interior that was lightly dusted with white pepper and nutmeg. It was almost too easy--anyone could put this baby together, and it's definitely company-worthy.
Easy Cheesy Gratin in an Acorn Squash
based on Ruth Reichl's Pumpkin Soup recipe, here
You can purchase 4 small acorn squash, or buy one larger of some other squash that will hold all the filling--it's completely up to you. I only made this one for the sake of experimentation, and baked the remaining filling in a pie plate--also yummy, but it's so much better with the squash.
1-4 acorn (or other) squash, washed, bottom sliced off, seeds and strings removed (Note: acorn squash are usually flat on top and pointed on the bottom--hence making a "lid" of the bottom; if you use another type of squash that sits flat on it's bottom, obviously remove your lid from the top)
neutral vegetable oil, like canola
1/2 loaf (about 3-4 cups) day-old french bread, cut into cubes and toasted in the oven
1-1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese, gently tossed with 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1. Oil the interior and exterior of squash and place in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 350*F.
2. Layer some bread crumbs in the bottom of the squash; sprinkle with cheese. Repeat this process until squash cavity is filled, ending with cheese. Carefully pour milk over filling until you see it approaching the top--I stopped at about 1 inch below the top. Dust generously with ground white pepper and several scrapes of nutmeg.
3. Replace squash lid and bake until squash flesh is very soft when poked with the tip of a knife and filling is puffed and golden; you may decide to remove the lid for a light golden color.
4. Cool a good 15 minutes before eating.
This would be a great lunch served with a salad. People with blood sugar issues should beware--this is high-carb with all that bread inside! Be sure to eat this in moderation with lots of veggies & fiber in the same meal.