Thursday, November 15, 2007

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I have recently learned/decided that I LOVE soup. It is warm, creamy, and perfect for those moments when you're hungry for something other than a big, overwhelming meal. I have seen so many blog posts about squash and while I'm sure I have had it, I never really considered myself a huge fan. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Two sunday's ago, at the Dupont Circle Farmer's Market (which is my other new love, mais c'est une autre histoire), I decided to give the really beautiful butternut squashes a try. I had been dreaming of making this soup since then but hadn't gotten around to it (two big papers this week...meh!). Today, after skipping class to sleep in, I decided it was in fact a soup day.

I thought this soup ended up delicious. I definitely want to make it again sometime soon. While each of the steps were easy, peeling and cutting up the squash was a bit of a pain (but hey, the bicep on my right arm is growing!). My roommate didn't like it, as I think she wasn't expecting the sweetness of the squash (but the soup generally wasn't sweet...I thought).

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Michael Chiarello

About 3 pounds butternut squash (preferably 1 large squash)
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced onion
1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced celery
1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced carrot
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Halve lengthwise, discard the seeds, then cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl, add 2 tbsp olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a heavy rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast, tossing at least once, until tender, about 35 minutes. Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, spices, sugar, and vinegar and saute until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash until smooth, then simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes.

Puree the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Add the milk and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.

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