Thursday, February 25, 2010

You want to eat dinner at my house tonight.

I made some freaking awesome butternut squash soup.  Behold!

OK so my blackberry photography skillz could use some work.  But that stuff is mad delicious.  I took some liberties with a recipe I found from Michael Chiarello, who is a celebrity chef LB and I like to keep an eye on.  Here's my version (it's super easy):

  1. Get 2 large and delicious butternut squashes (ours were a kind gift from a friend who stole them from his mother's garden).
  2. Roast the squashes (this can be done quite a while in advance: I did it about a 4 days before I made the soup, just keep it in the fridge).  
    1. Halve the squashes and place on cookie sheet.
    2. Liberally sprinkle on some olive oil.
    3. Grind some pepper and toss some kosher salt onto the squash.
    4. Put in the oven at 400F and roast until quite tender with a fork.  It depends on the squash, but this took about 45 minutes with the squashes I had.
    5. Scoop the insides out and discard the rind.
  3. Measure 4 cups of that squash you roasted.  Puree it in a blender or a food processor.
  4. Peel and cut a small bag of carrots (I think we had 8? 9?)  into pieces that are about 1 inch by 0.5 inch.
  5. Cut up one large yellow onion into manageable pieces.  Doesn't have to be a fine dice.
  6. In a stockpot add the following:
    1. 1.5 Tbsp each butter and olive oil
    2. the onions
    3. the carrots
    4. 6 medium-sized sage leaves, slightly chopped
    5. 1 cinnamon stick 
    6. 3 medium cloves of garlic, slightly crushed
    7. about 1-2 tsp nutmeg* 
    8. about 1-2 tsp garlic powder*
    9. about 1 Tbsp freshly ground pepper*
    10. about 1.5-2 Tbsp kosher salt*
    11. about 2 tsp cumin*
    12. about 1.5 Tbsp curry powder*
  7. Sautee over medium heat for about 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes so things don't stick.
  8. Add 2C vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Lower heat to medium and simmer until the carrots are cooked - maybe 10 minutes.
  9. This is very important: remove and discard the cinnamon stick.
  10. Add the squash puree.  Stir well.  The soup is probably uber thick at this point: add more vegetable stock or, if you don't have enough, water.  I added an additional 2 cups.
  11. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  12. Puree well in a food processor or blender.  IMPORTANT: leave a small vent for steam to escape or you might encounter an explosion.
  13. Return to stockpot and bring to medium heat.
  14. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of heavy cream, to taste (I used 3/4 cup).  Stir until homogeneous.
  15. See all those lovely spices with an asterix* next to them?  Taste the soup now and add more of these, to taste.  At this point, I ended up adding the same amount again of salt, pepper, and curry powder, and half again the amount of cumin and garlic powder.  I didn't need any more nutmeg.
  16. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently, after you get the flavor right.
  17. Serve with a dallop of crème fraiche and fresh, warm garlic baguette (or plain baguette, if you don't think garlic is the best fucking flavor on earth like I do).
Oh also? We discovered that butternut squash is Freki's most favorite food.  I gave him a bit of raw squash when I was cutting it, because I give him everything because I am a sucker for his big brown eyes, and he nommed it up.  Then, when I was scooping out the roast squash, he was standing very patiently outside the kitchen, a big drool gob hanging from his mouth to the floor.  I gave him a little in his bowl when it had cooled and he thought that was just the best thing EVAR.  Silly puppy, don't you know you're a carnivore?  I guess this is where the opportunistic part of the opportunistic carnivore shines.

P.S.  And now you get to see what protocols I've written look like.  It's all in the details.

    No comments: