Butternut Squash Soup

Oh, how we love Butternut Squash around here.  Ok, not all of us love it, but the ones that do really really really love it.  Especially my 5 year old daughter.  The child actually smacks her lips.

Usually, we bake it in the oven, scoop out the flesh, mash it with butter and salt and maple syrup, and sprinkle some cinnamon on top before we eat it.  Simple and delicious, and awfully good for us, too.

One day last winter I had a Butternut Squash soup at a friend's house and it was amazing.  She said it had apples and curry and other good things in it, and of course I planned to make some of my own right away.  And of course I never did get around to it.

So, last week I bought two perfect, medium sized squash.  And today I bought some Granny Smith apples.  I thought I was ready to go, but I'd neglected to read a recipe for it - how much more could there be to the whole deal, right?

My recipe ended up calling for chicken broth (currently out), apple brandy (don't have), apple cider (didn't buy).  I guess this was one of those times when I had to punt and really work with what was in my pantry and fridge.  It was a time of proving that cooking and tasting and being creative and tasting some more is really the best way to cook!  Maybe not the best way to cook, but it's a way I really enjoy.  Recipes are my friends, don't get me wrong.  But often they are a jumping off point to making something special.

Here's what I did.  And three out of the eight people in this clan loved it.  The other five either didn't want any "right now" or have a major gross-out factor with squash. 

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine (I often use extra dry white vermouth, on the recommendation of Julia Child)
Curry powder - to taste - I used about 2 teaspoons
Salt and pepper to taste, approximately 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
A splash of brandy (regular worked in place of apple)

On low heat, saute the onion in the butter til soft and translucent, about 7-8 minutes.  Add squash and apples, plus the wine and enough water to cover.  Season with salt and pepper, curry and thyme.  Simmer 20 minutes until squash and apples are tender.  Stir in the splash of brandy.

Either puree with a hand-held immersion blender, or in batches in your regular blender.  Return to the pot and taste for seasoning, adding more salt, pepper and curry to your liking.

I saw an idea of serving the soup topped with popcorn that had been sprinkled with cayenne or curry, and that sounded darn tasty.  But I didn't have any popcorn.  And I ran out of steam.
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