Friday, December 31, 2010
I bet you remember the first time you ate butternut squash soup. I just think it's one of those foods that do that to you... you take the first bite- not expecting much- but as soon as the first bite enters your mouth you realize something special is happening.
I was at Revelations- a restaurant that used to be where The Mix currently is in Greensboro. I had just stopped eating meat and seafood, and still wasn't sure what to do when I was out to eat... so, I ordered butternut squash soup for dinner. I remember being less than thrilled about my choice. But, what choice did I have? I had done this to myself...
Once I had that first bite, however, I realized the beginning of vegetarian bliss... it was just the start of being introduced to an endless amount of food I'd otherwise never take the time to notice...
The richness of the squash, the sweetness of the supporting veggies, silkiness of the cream... all hosting seasonings beautifully... butternut squash soup has become something I crave. I have tried to make it before- in my food processor. DO NOT TRY THAT EVER! What a mess! I learned rather quickly that using something too liquidy in a food processor is not a good idea... and you might be thinking how obvious that is considering something more liquid should go into a blender, while things that are more dry go into a food processor... I learned said lesson that day.
It also should be noted that using a blender for HOT liquid can also cause quite a mess- although it's doable if you are careful... I wasn't and another kitchen disaster left me feeling over ever trying to make soups that required blending... an immersion blender was the only answer. And an immersion blender, I did not have for a very long time.
Scott is a great man and got me one for Christmas this year and there was not a doubt in my mind what I would make first! Upon my next trip to the store, I bought 2 small beautiful butternut squashes. I knew I had carrots, onions, garlic, milk, and veggie broth at home... I could make that work.
First, I prepped the veggies for roasting... I coated quartered squashes, halved onions, peeled and quartered carrots, and a garlic bulb with EVOO and roasted them for about 40 minutes on 425 until the skins of the squash were golden brown and everything was soft. The house smelled so super good. When they were done, I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and gave them time to cool a bit on a plate. Into my soup pot went EVOO and a good amount of Penzy's Balti seasoning and Penzy's Vietnamese Cinnamon. I gave the oil time to heat and roast the spices before adding almost an entire box of veggie stock- maybe about 3-31/2 cups? I'd only used some of the box for a sauce on Christmas... Next, I squeezed the garlic out of the bulb, threw in the carrots and onion, and dug the meat out of each quarter of squash. The heat was on low, and it was time to use my new toy! Immerse, Immerse, Immerse! Everything began to come together... the carrots were my favorite-when I would buzz them, it was like a carrot blood bath into the yellow of the squash! This was fun!
Once it was smooth, I turned the heat up a bit until it got to temperature, then I turned the heat off completely. I added a glug of milk and tasted... a little more Balti, a bit more cinnamon, a little mild kosher salt... and it was perfect. I was so happy.
There were 2 biscuits left from Christmas Day, so I'd decided to turn them into crutons. I cubed them, put them in a small ziplock, added some EVOO, garlic powder, salt and pepper and shook to coat. They toasted up nicely in a 250 degree oven... excellent garnish.
Thanks to Scott, I can now quickly whip up one of my very favorite soups anytime I wish... and if you have somehow put off trying butternut squash soup, I hope you will order it next time you see it on a menu... or just come over, and I will make it for you!