Fall, I embrace you! While we don't have the summer days at the beach anymore, we now have pumpkin picking and brisk morning runs. There is something about fall breezes that makes me excited! We can't wait for school to start (even though it always starts in the hot humid August days...but, isn't it much more fun keep pretending that it starts in the fall?), we can't wait for the harvest time of apples, pears, peaches, squash and the smells of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg that accompany these foods and, admit it--we can't wait for Christmas. All the good times are ahead of us in the autumn season, and I'm totally not thinking about that January/February/March stretch. Just put that right out of my mind.
To get in the mood, I made some butternut squash soup. It was delicious. I like this recipe, because I only needed to make one cut down the length of the squash prior to roasting. I like this because cutting up butternut squash, to me, is risky business, and I'd like to keep all of my fingers intact, thank you very much. There is quite a bit of handling in this recipe--roasting and stewing and blending. At one point, I was ladling boiling squashy liquid into my blender, half of it dripping all over everything, while Pete was pulling at my pants and yelling "MAMA! Mama, I need that" and everything was spilling all around and life seemed pretty nutso for about 15 minutes. One of these definitely would have come in handy. But, the beauty of this soup is it tastes even better a day or two later, so, today, when the boys were out playing, I sat down by myself to a beautiful bowl of homemade soup and read a magazine and felt really, really happy.
Here's the recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking:
Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large leeks, cleaned thoroughly and chopped
4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash cut side down on oiled baking sheet. Bake until the squash can easily be pierced with a fork, about 1 hour. Let cool, then scoop the pulp from the squash skin and discard the skin.
- Melt butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat. Add leeks and ginger and cook, stirring, until tender but not browned, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Stir in 4 cups of stock and the squash pulp. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and breaking up the squash with a spoon, for 20 minutes. Puree until smooth. Return soup to the pot.
- Stir in cream, and thin with stock, a little at a time, until you reach the desired consistency of soup. Heat soup through and ladle into warmed bowls. Garnish with herbs and/or croutons.