Monday, October 25, 2010

Butternut autumn favorite

One of my favorite things, when the weather starts to get cooler (by the way...WILL the weather ever start to get cooler here? I wonder....90 today...are you KIDDING me?)is soup and my (f)all-time favorite is Butternut Squash Soup. Since the first time I sampled it at Wolfgang Puck's I've been hooked...and although they now sell this delectable item in cans, I'm always looking for recipes to make it myself. Wolfgang's own recipe is ANYTHING but simple, and many other ones truly lack in the "ease" department, but I think I've FINALLY hit on one that may just be both tasty AND simple. For you other autumn vegetable lovers out there, (and in the FERVENT hopes that the weather turns more AUTUMNAL soon), here's a nice recipe for

Simplest Butternut Squash Soup

For the soup
1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs.)
2 slender, or 1 1/2 larger leeks, white parts only, split lengthwise, washed (leeks can be REALLY sandy) and cut into 1 inch long pieces
3 c. WHOLE milk
3 c. water
salt and freshly ground pepper
freshly grated nutmeg

Peel the squash. Remove the seeds and string, then cut into 1 to 2 inch chunks. Toss into a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Add the leeks, milk, and water; salt generously and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook 25 to 35 minutes, or until squash is soft enough to mash when pressed lightly with the back of a spoon.

Using a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches until it's very smooth (an "immersion blender" would work really well for this, provided you do not use non-stick cookware---otherwise it might scratch it). Thin to your desired consistency (butternut squash soup should be quite thick) with milk and water. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Reheat if necessary (this soup should be served really hot)

Optional garnishes:
1 tart (Granny Smith or MacIntosh) apple, peeled, cored, and cut into tiny dice
1/3 c. chopped toasted hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans
1/2 c. creme fraiche or heavy cream (drizzle)

to "spice" up the flavor (and add a type of "thickener") you might want to add about 1/4 c. of canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling) to the soup at the end, mixing in well. This will add a flavor "twist" and help to thicken it if it happens to be on the thin side.

Autumn is (as I've said before) my very favorite time of year. I'm fervently hoping that, at some point, we GET an autumn here in Florida this year....right now I'm stuck in "summer" whilst looking at autumn and winter decorations. Not an easy task.

Today's food quote: "To feel safe and warm on a cold, wet night all you really need is soup" Laurie Colwin

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