Sunday, December 6, 2009

butternut squash soup

My husbands family adores butternut squash. I do not know if I can honestly say I had ever even had butternut squash before I spent my first Thanksgiving with them. But there it was, this gorgeous, golden orange mash, right alongside the potatoes on the Thanksgiving buffet. I am so grateful that this flavor is now part of my Thanksgiving canon. It is sweet and earthy and so ridiculously good for you.
I have also discovered that I love butternut squash soup. And really, after a few days of Thanksgiving leftover indulgence (pumpkin pie for breakfast, turkey melt sandwiches for lunch) I find a light soup like this butternut squash quite welcome. It is comforting but not cloying. The recipe is from Giada De Laurentiis. Her recipe calls for a fontina crostini. I like it as is with a bit of cheese (sharp English cheddar) and crackers (pepper poppyseed water crackers are the current addiction) on the side.

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 3/4-inch pieces (about 7 to 8 cups) (peeling a butternut squash is the least fun job ever- please be careful)
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1) In an 8-quart stockpot, add the butter and oil and melt together over medium-high heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2) Stir in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.

3) Add the squash and the chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil and add the sage. Continue to boil until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

4) Turn off the heat. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture until smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Keep the soup warm over low heat. (A small note: While this recipe utilizes an immersion blender, I think a food mill or regular blender would work just fine. I do have to say that I treasure my immersion blender and give it all my gold stars for ease of use.)

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