Blue Hubbard squash has orange colored sweet flesh. It will feed a family of eight or more, can be tossed around by children without fear of damage, may double as an excersize ball, and few people have heard of it which makes a nice change from the ever-so-common butternut squash soup.
The only downside is – I'm sorry to say – I don't even know where you can buy one of these things (and they are 'things') because our market here in Pescadero is closed until May and I have not seen them in local stores. I should warn that blue Hubbards are heavy and can reach up to 20 pounds.
Or you can do what I like to do, which is soooo much more graceful, and place the alien football on the wood chopping block (you have one don't you? A chopping block?) and cleave it into pieces with an axe and then wash off any woodblock splinters that cling on. Very satisfying – a stress reliever.
Or you can do what Farmer Jeff does and get the chainsaw. No, I'm just kidding there. We don't even have a chain saw. A bush hog, yes. A chainsaw, no.
I did learn a few tips about squash growing this year at Echo Valley Farm from Farm manager Dede. And I'm talking more of the butternut, delicata, potimarron, kuri, hubbard, and sugar pie types. Not zucchini. Let hard squashes cure in the field and then in dry storage. When the vine is dry and the leaves are dead and bleached, this is the time to cut squash off the leash. In most cases this will be after the first frost or thereabouts. If the squash does not get to cure the sugars won't develop all the way.
When it comes to black truffles the blacker the better. For a soup like this where big black shavings aren't necessary I'd opt for the smaller truffles because they are easier to find and a truffle half the size of a golf ball will cost around $48 retail value. I used a little black truffle oil too.
I like to place my truffles with my eggs in the refrigerator. The flavor and heavenly aroma somehow infuses through the eggshells. Then I can have truffled soft scrambled eggs too!
Always smell truffles before purchasing and buy from a reputable company. Some truffle sellers soak them in truffle smelling chemicals to enhance aroma. If they have a chemical or gasoline smell I would stay away.
Truffled Blue Hubbard Soup
One Hubbard of 14 pounds will make 4 quarts of soup
1 Bleu Hubbard around 14-15 pounds cracked open with seeds scooped out
1 quart rich chicken, veal, or vegetable stock
1 head of garlic
3 stalks of celerly, chopped and sweated (cooked but not browned)
5 springs of thyme
1 small bottle of black truffle oil
1 extremely small black truffle
chives, minced & crème fraîche to garnish
Heat oven to 400˚F. In a large roasting pan place hubbard pieces skin side down. Do not add water, they contain a lot and will more than likely fill the pan with 1/4-inch while roasting. Take garlic head and cut off the tips keeping head intact. Place it alongside hubbard in roasting pan with thyme. Cook for around 2 hours or until the hubbard flesh is soft.
When it is cooked take it out and scoop out the flesh. Purée in batches with the stock, celery, and garlic (squeeze garlic out of skins), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Before serving, mix in one teaspoon of oil per serving (one bowl) and sprinkle a little more on top. Shave truffles and float as a garnish. If there are any extras, they can be chopped and added to the soup.