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Friday, March 5, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I recently realized that I have a problem.  I have a problem actually following recipes.  I can't think of the last time that I actually followed a recipe to the letter.  Except for baking. I don't mess with baking recipes. Usually.

I am always adding a little bit extra of some herb or a omitting some ingredient (usually because I forgot to read the entire recipe).  I think I am the sort of person who uses the recipe as a loosely structured guideline rather than as a blueprint.  This is probably the reason why I found organic chemistry so frustrating in college.  What do you mean, I have to add exactly 2 grams of sodium nitrate??? Pish-Posh!

Almost anything savory to me could always use a little extra garlic or pepper.  I think I may have messed with my palate a little too much.  I always think of my med school roommate who added hot red peppers to everything before even tasting it because her palate was used to her mom's spicy Indian cooking.

I use this rambling as a precursor to my next Opa! Sopa! recipe which features Indian curry as a spice.  Be careful to taste the soup before and during the cooking process.  This recipe is a mashup (I love that word - thank you, Glee) of two Barefoot Contessa (surprise, surprise) recipes.  I am wondering also, how many times I can use parentheses in one paragraph?


Curry is an awesome thing to use but be careful.  It often varies in heat, even if it is labeled "mild".  I get my curry from a local international market in Nashville, so it probably has a little spicier than your neighborhood grocery store variety.   Also, this is a bit of a labor intensive soup, because of all the peeling and chopping.  Next time, Trader Joes for the pre-chopped butternut squash.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 
(my version)

5 pounds butternut squash (2 large), chopped into 1 inch cubes
4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as McIntosh (4 apples), chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons mild curry powder
3 cups chicken stock
1 cups apple cider or juice

Preheat oven to 375.  Place chopped squash, apples and onto 2 large baking sheets.  Drizzle with olive oil, and toss with salt and pepper.  Bake for 35-45 minutes until tender (a fork should pierce easily).



Meanwhile, warm the chicken stock, cider/apple juice over medium heat until simmering.  When the roasted mixture is done, process through a food mill fitted with a large blade, or puree it coarsely in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. (Or, if you are me, toss the roasted mixture in your blender with some of the hot chicken broth.  Easy peasy.)

Pour the soup back into the pot. Add enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot.

 Garnished with thyme, chopped almonds and diced banana (weird combo but goooood...)

Original recipe called for scallions, cashews and diced banana, but as mentioned before, I forgot didn't pay attention to read the directions.  Oops.

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