December 18, 2005

Butternut Squash Soup

We miss a picture of something every year. This year the soup had already been gotten into by the time a picture was taken. So I have only this action shot to show you:

Butternut Squash Soup

I'm a huge fan of soups, especially at parties. Soups can be mostly (or even sometimes completely) made ahead of time. People like soup, especially in the winter. Soup isn't served as often as it probably should be. And finally, it's a nice help-yourself, slow-arrival kind of dish as people gather.

For around a gallon of soup:
- 3 butternut squash
- 6 leeks
- 6 carrots
- 6 celery stalks
- 4 cobs of corn (either with or without corn on them)
- 1 C white wine
- thyme

Cut squash in half. Place on pan in 350 degree oven and roast until tender (about an hour and a half). Clean and slice leeks, cut carrots and celery into medium dice. Sweat in olive oil. Add wine, thyme, and water to cover. Add in corn cobs. Simmer while squash finishes cooking. Remove squash from oven and using a spoon, scoop out flesh. Throw away seeds, and skin. Add squash flesh to pot. Add additional water as needed to cover. Cook until all vegetables are soft. Remove corn cobs. Blend mixture a bit at a time until completely smooth, then pass through a coarse mesh strainer to remove any strings or large bits of pulp. At this stage, the soup freezes very well, or can be placed in the fridge for up to three days.

For service, thaw or re-heat the soup. Reduce liquid as needed to desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, and a splash of some kind of acid (we used wine vinegar, I'm pretty sure, but lemon also works). Notice that there was no seasoning when cooking above, so you really need to salt it properly. The acid is helpful to brighten the flavor -- long cooked vegetables often need this. Add a pint of heavy cream (I use Manufacturing Cream which has no stabilizers and a higher butterfat content, but any kind of cream works), re-heat until fully warm and re-taste for seasoning. We also floated some roasted pumpkin seed oil on top, which has both a nice flavor and a pretty dark greenish tinge.

Another funny trick we use for the party: the frozen blocks of soup can be put into a cooler and used to store vegetables that won't fit into your fridge. Chances are the soup will still be frozen rock solid even after a day, and you have freed up valuable space for more imortant things.

Posted by dowdy at December 18, 2005 06:33 AM