Crema de Zapallo
Crema de Zapallo, served with rice. Photo by Don Ball.
I was never a huge fan of squash, at least not the way I grew up eating it: acorn squash cut in halves and baked with butter and brown sugar. (That actually sounds appealing as I type it...but in practice has never been my favorite.)
In soup form, however, squash really floats my boat. The other day, I took a buttercup squash and did it up Peruvian style to make "Crema de Zapallo," a.k.a Cream of Pumpkin Soup.
Buttcup squash. Photo by Don Ball.
Peruvian zapallo. Photo courtesy PAC Tour.
Pumpkin (zapallo) in Lima is different than the North American variety. The outside is green and the flesh is a pale yellow. I haven't tried it, but I suspect that your garden variety orange pumpkin wouldn't work in this recipe. It's simply not rich enough. On the other hand, I think the buttercup sqash is a good subsitute for zapallo. Cooked, this squash is rich and has a fine texture when pureed.
Here's a simplified recipe for my Crema de Zapallo.
- 1 med. white onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 2 Tbsp. cooking oil
- 2 Tbsp. aji amarillo paste
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 buttercup squash
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 liter chicken broth
Separately, heat the oil and add diced onions and a couple pinches of salt. Fry the onions for a few minutes until golden. Add garlic, aji, cumin, pepper and remaining salt. Fry for another couple minutes. Add this mixture to the squash.
Add evaporated milk and cook another 20-30 minutes as needed to acheive desired consistency. I left my soup a teeny bit runny and served it with rice. Serve in a large shallow bowl with shaved fresh parmesan over top.
Tags: Zapallo, pumpkin, squash, soup, cooking, recipes, Peru, aji amarillo, cumin
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