OK so there’s a hurricane a-coming SOON so the forecasters keep warning. But, we have lots of freshly-picked butternut squash that Grenville harvested from the Frog & PenguINN garden this week, so what’s there to do while waiting for Irene's unwelcome visit ?
Make Soup !
And, the current (Sept-Oct 2011) issue of Cook’s Illustrated contained a very timely recipe, Great Butternut Squash.
So, of course, this one had to be tried today. Unlike other butternut squash recipes I’ve tried, this one did not call for steaming, boiling or roasting the butternut. Already, I was liking this recipe. PLUS, it did not call for using any cream, yogurt, or other dairy products, other than topping with sour cream (if you prefer).
The title did NOT include Hurricane, but if the shoe fits . . .
Do not use pre-peeled or frozen butternut squash for this recipe. Use Swanson’s® Vegetable broth or a similar brand, chicken broth works OK too (we were out of vegetable broth).
And, if using a blender to puree the soup, fill the jar two-thirds fill – no more – or you will have a BIG mess. Best bet is to use an immersion blender to puree the soup right in the pot. Not only is this way SO much easier – there’s no blender to clean up.
Great (Hurricane) Butternut Squash Soup
- 2-1/2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks (about 7 cups)
- 2 TBSP unsalted butter
- 1 leek, white and green parts only, quartered lengthwise, sliced thin, and washed thoroughly (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 4 C vegetable broth OR low-sodium chicken broth
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 cups water
- 2 springs fresh thyme or 2 tsp dried
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- Sour cream (for topping)
- Place squash in bowl, cover, and microwave until paring knife easily cuts through, 14-18 minutes, stir halfway through cooking.
- Carefully transfer squash to colander set in bowl (squash will be very hot) and drain for 5 minutes reserving liquid.
- Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, leek, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until squash pieces begin to break down and brown fond forms in bottom of pot, 10-13 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of broth and scrape bottom of pot to loosen and dissolve fond. Add remaining 2 cups of broth, reserved squash liquid, bay leaf (if using) and cayenne. Increase heat to high and simmer until leeks are fully tended, 6-7 minutes.
- Remove and discard bay leaf (if using) and thyme springs (if using fresh sprigs).
- Insert immersion blender in pot (highly recommended) and puree. If using a blender, work in batches and process until smooth. Return soup to a clean pot and bring to simmer, thinning with 1 cup of water to preferred consistency (we like ours thick).
Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve with dollop of sour cream (if you prefer). Soup can be made up to 2 days in advance of serving. Serves 6-8.
So, if you’re in the neighborhood later today, stop in we have plenty of soup, bread, and fresh tomato salad to share.
This side dish was featured in the same issue of Cook’s Illustrated, but I did not try it. The leeks came in a 3-pack so there’s still time, or the remaining ones might be used for another batch of soup.
- 1 leek, white and green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced into very thin 2-inch long strips, washed thoroughly and dried.
- 2 TBSP all-purpose flour
- 1/2 C olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Toss leaks, flour, and pinch each of salt and pepper in bowl.
- Heat oil in 12-inch skillet until shimmering.
- Add half of leeks and fry, stirring often, until golden grown, about 6 minutes.
- Use slotted spoon to transfer leeks to paper towel lined plate; sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Repeat with remaining leaks.