Sunday, December 14, 2008

Butternut squash soup!

Okay, I'm not a big fan of squash, but all fall I've listened to people rave about butternut this, and butternut that. It's gotten pretty unavoidable, so I figured it's time to confront the issue full on. I wanted to make butternut squash soup, and I wanted it to be awesome. Turned out that it was pretty easy. Butternut squash is the Aston Martin Vanquish of squashes, while regular yellow squash is like the Yugo or the AMC Gremlin of squash. In other words, it's really hard to go wrong.

Here's what I used for my soup:

1 butternut squash
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
1 quart chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of cinnamon
1 bay leaf

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Split your butternut squash, and remove the seeds and stringy pulp from the bulb-shaped part. Clean out the stringy stuff and reserve your seeds in a cup of very salty water. You're going to roast them later and make an awesome garnish. Take the butternut halves and put them in the oven, split-side up. Roast those for about 20-30 minutes, or until the flesh is fully tender. Test it with a knife and see if you meet any resistance. If you don't, it's ready. Remove from the oven and let cool. The outer skin should peel off pretty easily with your fingers. Set the flesh aside.

Spread the seeds on a baking dish and put in the oven at the same temp for about ten minutes. Alternatively you can dry-roast them on medium heat in a skillet. The salt water should leave behind a little salt on the seeds.

In a large stock pot, heat your butter to medium, add your onions and salt, and cover, cooking for about five or ten minutes until soft. After that, add the stock, squash, and all spices except the bay leaf, and bring to an energetic boil for about two minutes. After that's done, take it off heat and add cream. Here, you can either put the soup into a blender and liquify it, or if you have an immersion blender, use that to instead. Once it's blended up, put the soup back on for a low simmer, and add your bay leaf, letting it cook for another ten minutes. After that, remove the bay leaf, and ladle into soup bowls. Take the toasted seeds and sprinkle on top for garnish.

I had some crusty bread alongside this, and it was a great comfort food experience. With the holidays coming up, if you're making turkey or ham or another roasted meat, it'll be a nice accompaniment, so keep that in mind.

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