Sunday, August 24, 2008

Butternut squash soup

I have a dear connection here. There is a farm in Alabama where I get amazing stuff, for very very low prices. The woman who runs it gave me TONS of blueberries earlier this year, enough to put up two dozen pints of blueberry jam and make a couple of blueberry pies and a few dozen blueberry muffins that are in the freezer to pop in the toaster oven in the morning for a quick breakfast.

Well this woman has butternut squash in season right now. I ADORE butternut squash and hers are a beautiful deep orange inside with a sweet and musky aroma. Oh they are amazing. She isn't organic, but she never sprays any of her stuff, she says she just grows it until it is ready to eat. Well I got fifteen butternut squash a few weeks ago for less than five dollars! And yesterday while I was preparing for Fay (which never came) I roasted them!

The easiest way to make butternut squash is to simply roast it in the oven. Cut the stem off the squash then cut it in half lengthwise. Put it cut side down in a 350 oven until the squash is very tender. I can't give times for this since every squash is different in size and tenderness when you first put it in. But when your house starts to smell delightfully like fall, you know it is about time. Take your squash out when it is tender and let it set for about ten minutes. While it is still really REALLY warm, almost to hot to touch scrape out the meat. It will leave the skin pretty regularly when it is hot, but gets much harder when it is cooled.

Now I had a LOT of squash at this point in a big huge bowl. I took a few cups and put it in the blender with some water and then poured that into ice cube trays for baby food for Huckleberry in a few months. He'll be ready for squash in two or three months (I believe firmly in spoon feeding babies around six to eight months, I've seen the research for only letting them do finger foods and I don't agree with it) I then put 8 pints of squash into the freezer for later use.

But the soup. Oh the soup. I get so excited at this soup every year. I stole the basics for the recipe from the back of the Williams-Sonoma jar of butternut squash puree. But you get a tiny jar of butternut squash for like ten dollars, so forget that.

For the soup:
1/2 stick of butter You can use canola oil, but I don't recommend olive oil as it gives the soup a weird flavor. Butter is best. You can also use bacon drippings which are delightful, but we don't eat pork in our house and for health reasons I don't recommend using bacon drippings
2 cooking apples. I almost always use granny smith because they are very easy to find
1 1/2 large sweet onions. Do not use red, white, or plain small yellow onions. You can use shallots in place of the sweet onions, but I like the sweet onions
Saute all of those until they are really tender, but don't allow them to brown. I usually do them on med low heat for close to half an hour, stirring frequently

Next add the meat from about two squash, apx 4 or 5 cups and stir it all together well

Then add some chicken or vegetable stock. I like to use homemade stock, but if you don't have homemade, the stuff in a box will work. I usually add about 3/4 as much stock as squash. This soup is meant to be thick.

Next you want to add your spices. Salt first, apx 2 teaspoons. Cinnamon apx 2 or 3 teaspoons. Ginger powder 1 teaspoon. And dried sage 2 tsp. I don't like fresh sage here because it never blends well enough later, and I don't like biting into a small piece of sage, to much sage flavor.

Finally add some white wine, about 1/2 of a cup of a medium dry to dry white. Gewürztraminer is by far the best choice as it pairs really well with butternut squash, which is hard to pair. Make sure you are buying a wine you would drink, and drink it with your soup!

Cook it all together for ten to fifteen minutes then blend. The easiest way to blend is with a stick blender. Just put that puppy in there and blend away. If you don't have a stick blender you can also blend it in batches in your blender. If you want to get really super fancy about it use a chinois. But honestly that is overkill for most home cooks.

Now if your soup is a bit thick you might want to add a bit more warm stock to the soup.

Serve topped with some yogurt, or creme fraiche, or sour cream, or even Mexican table cream. I've also topped it with sauteed apples and onions before.


Michelle Stille said...

I am so making that after I go to the grocery store this week! Keep posting recipes!

Michelle Stille said...

There's research on baby-led solids??? I didn't think enough people did it to do research on it. I'd probably spoon feed a formula fed baby, too, though. My own health, my sister's health, and Gabe's health are enough research for me to know that baby led solids for a breastfed baby is perfectly normal and healthy. Plus all the babies and toddlers I've met at LLL. I got my squash and am making that soup this weekend unless we are evacuating!

小小彬 said...