Monday, October 11, 2010

butternut squash soup

Butternut Squash Soup with Soda Bread

The last few days have been full of nasty surprises and torrents of rotten luck, so the obvious thing to do was to make some soup, soup being both the ultimate comfort food and a nice thing to share with other people in order to make myself feel more happy and less miserable. A friend of mine recently posted a recipe for a Portugese butternut squash soup that sounded delicious and less sweet than the ones that soup places in New York (of which there are many great ones) tend to make. I am also delving into the enthralling writing of José Saramago for the first time, so a Portugese soup seems appropriate. I followed her recipe (which came from a monastery cookbook!) pretty closely but changed the spices a bit according to what I had on hand. I also increased the recipe a little just to avoid being left with a stray cup of broth and two odd ounces of squash. Also: buying pre-cut, pre-cleaned squash is awesome and totally not cheating.

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 giant onions, chopped (I used red ones)
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
1 potato, peeled and cubed
7 cups vegetable stock
1 tablespoon ginger
1 tablespoon sweet paprika (or to taste--I used quite a lot)
1 heaping tablespoon rosemary (I used dried, but fresh is probably better)
salt and pepper to taste
1 random dash of cinnamon added at the end, because it always gets used with the ginger and it looked lonely

Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes, reduce the heat, cover the pot, and let them sweat for 10-15 minutes. Remove the lid and add the squash, potato, and rosemary.

Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, put the lid back on and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the spices and cook for a few minutes, stirring them through.

Blend the soup until it's smooth and thick. Serve with bread or crackers.

Do yourself a favor and get an immersion blender, as using a normal one will likely lead to the splattering of very hot soup. This will result in you having to wipe the kitchen floor and clean off the toaster while whimpering from the pain of two burned arms. Trust me on that. Or, you know, let the soup cool a little and don't over-fill the blender. I still ended up with eight or nine portions, despite losing a whole bunch to the floor and my arms. Planning on freezing a couple for the next time I can't be bothered to cook. Maybe I'll even take a nicely lit and staged picture instead of an indifferent I-just-wanna-eat-it-but-I-have-to-be-a-good-blogger phone camera one.

Halfway through making this soup I decided that in honor of Cookbook's original post I needed to bake some bread to go with the soup. I am also planning on giving some of it to a friend tomorrow, and it seems weird to give someone a jar of soup alone, or with store-bought bread. I put together a second round of the soda bread I made for St. Patrick's Day. Ten minutes in, I realized I needed milk. It immediately started pouring buckets outside. Nevertheless, milk was purchased and bread was made, and damn if this bread doesn't match the soup perfectly. Kelly and I ate half the loaf and a third of the soup in about twenty minutes. It was a delightfully healthy gluttonous experience, too (except for my lavish application of butter), so I don't feel at all bad about the number of alcohol calories I'm going to consume now to make the burns on my my arms stop hurting.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh cinnamon. I like this recipe because it's easy to season as you see fit.

    Also that bread looks fabulous. Will have to try it!