Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finally Fall! Butternut Squash Soup

Picture taken by my friend Beth and used totally without her permission. This is New Hampshire. Our leaves aren't this pretty in North Carolina.

I never fully realize how much summer beats me up and takes my milk money until the first real whiff of fall. Not the pseudo-cooldown we get periodically when nighttime temps dip all the way down to the upper 60s. I'm talkin' honest-to-god chilly weather - when I sit and work in the office and my hands and feet get cold. My spirit perks up and I get excited thinking about hay rides and raking leaves and wearing thick wool sweaters and all the other things that I never actually do that are universal symbols of fall. I think the last time I went on a hay ride was in 1986 and that was probably the last time I wore a thick wool sweater, because I'm sure I roasted in it. We do live in the South, y'all. And if you've seen my yard, you know it's been almost that long since I've raked a leaf. I much prefer blowing them to the side of the yard. "Topsoil", she tells herself.

But what I DO manage every fall is to bust out some pretty hittin' autumn moves in the kitchen. This butternut squash soup is one of my favorites. There are six thousand variations of it you can find anywhere and everywhere, but here's mine.

Peel and dice one apple and one small yellow onion. I used a Granny Smith apple for the tartness. Sweat them in about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a medium sized pot. Add a generous pinch of kosher salt.

Add about 1/2 tsp. of rubbed sage, or finely minced fresh sage.

I love Penzey's
Add 3 cups (roughly) of butternut squash chunks. We're going to pretend here that I did this properly and peeled and seeded and chopped the squash myself, instead of buying the package of pre-cut stuff at the grocery. Don't rat me out. Nobody likes a tattletale.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock and put a lid on the pot to let it simmer. While that's going, cook two Italian sausages over medium heat. I used hot turkey sausage. No, of course it's not as good as real pork Italian sausage. You can use that, if you prefer.

When the sausage is browned, drain it on a paper towel, then chop it. Set that aside.

Simmer the squash for about 30 minutes, until it's soft. Then brrrrzzzzzt it with an immersion blender, or put it in a regular blender and puree until smooth. If you use a regular blender, cool the soup a little and leave the center part of the lid off so steam can escape. Otherwise, you'll be very sorry. And very scalded. And very orange and sticky.

Return the soup to low heat, add 3/4 tsp. of nutmeg, salt it to taste, and add 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Stir that all together and simmer until warmed through.

Put a handful (or spoonful if you're averse to using your clean hands) of chopped sausage in the bottom of a soup bowl. Ladle the soup over the sausage.

Serve garnished with a pinch of nutmeg.

Here's the .pdf version, if you are so inclined.

1 comment:

Phillip Reid said...

This rocked like you cannot believe.