Monday, October 16, 2006

Butternut Squash Soup

Remember that butternut squash I got at the farm last week? Well, it finally got turned into soup tonight. I woke up this morning with a bit of a cold and the nip of autumn in the air, so what better than soup?

It should be noted that this is perhaps the first soup I've ever made in my life from scratch. Not that I'm a novice in the kitchen, on the contrary. I'm addicted to the Food Network and own a shelf full of cookbooks. I like to cook, do it often and am even pretty good at it. But this is my first attempt at soup. And Butternut Squash Soup at that. After researching a few recipes, I came up with a hybrid of my own. Here it is:

Butternut Squash Soup

2-3 lb. butternut squash
2-3 Tbls olive oil
2 Tbls butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup apple cider
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 F. Cut squash lengthwise and remove seeds. Rub cut surfaces of squash with 1 Tbls olive oil and place face down on a cookie sheet. Bake for 45 minutes. When squash is finished, remove cookie sheet from oven and set aside until squash is cool enough to handle. Once cooled, use a large spoon to scoop squash pulp from skins. Place pulp in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

In a large, heavy saucepan heat butter and remaining oil. When butter starts to foam, add chopped onion and garlic and sautee until translucent. (About 5 minutes) Next add apple cider and bring to a simmer. Add chicken broth, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Add squash pulp to mixture and stir to incorporate for a few minutes.

Turn off heat and transfer soup mixture in small batches to a blender. Puree soup mixture in blender on low speed making sure the top to the blender is secure. Pour pureed mixture into a large bowl and set aside. Continue until entire soup mixture is pureed. Return pureed soup to original saucepan and reheat. Add grated nutmeg and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Serve hot and garnish with dollop of sour cream or homemade croutons. (Crouton recipe follows)

Homemade Croutons:
Cut half a loaf of French, Italian or sour dough bread into 3/4 inch cubes.
Place in a large ziplock bag and drizzle with 3 to 4 Tbls olive oil, 3/4 tsp garlic salt, freshly ground pepper and 3 to 4 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese. Seal bag and toss ingredients until cubes are thoroughly coated. Place cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes at 450 F.

Try this. It's pretty good.



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