Monday, January 18, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 butternut squashes, about 3 lbs total weight, halved lengthwise and seeded
(I used a combination ratio of 2/3 butternut, 1/3 sweet dumpling squash)
1 large Granny Smith apple or Anjou or Bosc pear, peeled, halved and cored
2 yellow onions, quartered
6 cups chicken stock or reduced-sodium chicken broth
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ cup half-and-half or ½ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup chopped fresh sage

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a small bowl, stir together the oil and vinegar. Brush the cut sides of the squash, the apple halves and the onions with the oil mixture. Place the squash and apple halves, cut side-down, and the onions on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, turning the fruit and vegetables twice, until tender and lightly browned, about 30 minutes for the apple and 45 -50 minutes for the vegetables. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool. Scoop out the flesh from the squash halves, discarding the peel. Coarsely chop the apple and onions.

Transfer the squash flesh, onions, and apple to a large saucepan and add the stock and nutmeg. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. In a blender, puree the soup in batches until smooth (or use a hand blender in the pan as I did). Return the soup to the pan, stir in the half-and-half, season to taste with salt and pepper, and heat through over medium heat. (The soup can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator).

Just before serving, melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the sage and sauté until the butter browns lightly and the sage is crisp. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and garnish with the sage butter.

Serves 8-10

Freezer method:

Prepare as directed and freeze flat in gallon freezer bag. When ready to use, thaw completely, either 24+ hrs in refrigerator or in pan of cool water. Poor thawed soup into saucepan and warm over low heat. Once warmed, prepare the sage butter and serve as directed.

Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving Entertaining

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