Wednesday, April 4, 2012

the last soup of the season, perhaps

I heated up the leftover butternut squash soup for lunch yesterday, and I think it was even better warmed over. It was so good! It makes me a little sad to think that I have gone all these years without knowing that. I have talked in the past about my extreme aversion to cooked vegetables while I was growing up and for many years thereafter. The only vegetables we ate when I was a kid came in frozen cubes with Birdseye labels on the boxes. (The frozen spinach was the worst, if you want to know.) But I digress.

I asked for an immersion blender for Christmas, mainly so that I could make my own butternut squash soup. I had some this fall at Atwater's, a neat little bakery in downtown Catonsville that serves a lunch every day that consists of homemade soup, freshly baked bread, and dessert. The soup was a revelation to me! Simple and complex at the same time, I knew it was something I could add to my repertoire.

Accordingly, I got online and started looking for recipes. I don't even bother with the cookbooks I have collected anymore. It's all out there, man, on the interwebs. The recipe was as simple as I thought it might be, and after a couple of times making the soup, this is my version.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise, with seeds removed
1 large onion, peeled and halved
2 apples, peeled, halved, and cored
olive oil
freshly-ground pepper
32 oz. chicken broth (homemade stock would be fantastic, if you have it)
½ cup milk
marsala (optional)
freshly-grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400°. Liberally oil a cookie sheet. (I like to cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil first. It makes for an easier clean-up.) Drizzle olive oil on the cut side of the squash, then salt and pepper it. Place the two halves on the cookie sheet, cut side down. Place the onion and apple halves on the cookie sheet, drizzle oil on them, then salt and pepper. Place in oven, and roast until vegetables have carmelized, about 40 minutes. While vegetables are roasting, heat chicken broth in a six-quart pot.

Give apples and onions a rough chop, and place them in pot with chicken broth. Cut the squash into cubes while it is still in the shell, then use a large spoon to scrape the cubes into the broth. Simmer for about a half hour, or until everything is well-cooked and falling apart. Remove pot from heat, get out your immersion blender, and blend until soup is smooth and free of lumps.

Return to burner and simmer soup until it is hot. Taste soup and add salt and pepper as necessary. This is also the time to add milk. I like the creaminess the milk adds, but be careful not to add so much that the soup becomes too thin. This should be a thick, creamy soup. Add marsala to taste. Be sure to simmer until all alcohol is evaporated. Ladle soup into big bowls, grate nutmeg on top of each serving. Easy does it! This soup has a delicate flavor, and too much nutmeg can overpower it. Bon app├ętit! Hope you enjoy this as much as I do.


jsdknits said...

One of my all-time favorite soups. Welcome to the veggie side!

anne mancine said...

Thanks, Janet! Oddly enough, my favorite new-to-me vegetable is kale. I find I start craving it. Better than fritos and twinkies, I suppose. ;)

How do you make your butternut squash soup? I can always make improvements.

Ben said...

I agree, that is some seriously good soup. A great discovery - a revelation. I'd have never thought I would eat squash soup, let alone enjoy it. What's next, lima beans? Err, sorry. No.

Amanda Maddock said...

Butternut squash soup is also one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I've never tried it with apples, but am now intrigued.

Have you ever made kale chips? They are totally crave-worthy. :)

anne mancine said...

Amanda - you are not the first person to recommend kale chips to me. I am definitely going to try them.