Sunday, January 12, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup



I love making a soup as one of my Christmas dinner courses. Last year I made a delicious pea soup. I did not have the time to take photos and note the recipe down, since I had guests coming over and I was in a mad rush to get everything done on time. I think I'll make it again before the winter ends.

This year, I decided to use a vegetable I've never cooked or even tasted before. I was looking at the all the fresh seasonal vegetables at a local farm here, called Donaldson Farms. They have amazing chocolate milk there! I saw different types of squash on display, and they all looked beautiful! I've rarely eaten anything from the squash family (except for pumpkins) so decided to give butternut squash a try.

I made this in advance on Christmas Eve and served it as my second course on Christmas with Gougères.

I referred a few videos on how to cut this up. I must say, it was a lot of work and requires more strength than I had thought. Especially making the first cut in half.

I mostly followed the recipe on Food.com This recipe called for fresh parsley, which was then pureed along with the other ingredients. I feel pureeing parsley ruined the taste of the soup. It gave that raw green grass sort of taste, which made me feel like a cow eating grass! It also ruined the beautiful orange color of the soup and gave it a sickly green hue. So I would avoid this next time, and probably follow another video.
If I had watched this video first, it would have made my life much easier!



Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash, peeled, diced (about 5 cups)
1 medium onion, large dice (1 cup)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 apple, skinned, large dice (1 cup)
48 ounces chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
2 tablespoons parsley, fresh, chopped - my recommendation, do not use!!
1 tablespoon thyme, fresh, chopped
crouton (optional)
sour cream (optional)

Method:


1 Roasting: Preheat oven to 450. Peel and dice squash into 1/2 inch pieces (see tip at end). Dice onion into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss squash and onion with olive oil and spread pieces onto a large flat baking pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes - add diced apple - and continue roasting another 10-20 minutes (30-40 total roasting time).
I would rather roast the squash halves next time, and then puree it with sauteed onions, apple and herbs.
2 Tip: while you are roasting, make some "cheese toasts". Put some shredded cheese on top of bread rounds (we like gruyere or parmesan). Bake 10-15 minutes until crispy. These cheese toasts are fantastic soup toppers! I made Gougères.
3 Place roasted mixture into blender with about half the chicken broth; puree (keep hand on lid because hot liquids can cause the top to "explode" off with built up steam). Add remaining chicken broth, half-and-half, and herbs; puree.
4 Transfer mixture to saucepan; reheat gently.
5 Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a dash of paprika.
Tip: to prepare squash, first cut squash in half horizontally. Place flat end onto cutting board to stabilize squash and use a peeler to remove skin. Remove seeds. Then cut into lengths, and then into diced pieces.
Note: if you have leftover mashed potatoes from Thanksgiving, add about 1/2 cup, which will thicken the soup and add a nice smoothness.
My notes: Other recipes used carrots, bay leaf and sage too. Worth trying next time instead of parsley.
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