Thursday, January 21, 2010

Soups On: Part II - Task of the Butternut Squash

I promised in my first soup attempt that the soup would be on in this household for the chilly winter, so I give you my first attempts at butternut squash and pureed soup!

Up until the Thanksgiving of 2009, I was under the impression I did not like butternut squash. My reasoning for this claimed 27 year dislike, I couldn't tell you. I can't even remember the ever having tried it before!
As is the motivation for this blog, it's time to grow up and for the first time I scooped into the mashed/puree of butternut squash at our SoVT (that's Southern VT, my hometown!) family gathering to find...I like it!

Soon after the holiday season I purchased two good looking butternut squashes and let them sit on our counter for a couple weeks until I mustered up the nerve to give this a try. Since soups are pretty forgiving, I also decided this experimental recipe would be a chance to clean out the fridge.

OK, now this may just be me...but butternut squash is not so easy to cut up! I struggled a bit trying to go lengthwise, but then found in order not to cut myself I should instead slice the width/short way. Not as smooth as a hot knife through butter, but makes life a little easier (and safer!).

This lesson learned in cutting the short way is actually credited to Mr. Testosterone (aka my hubby...does that stick?). When trying to slice some sweet potatoes I nearly took my finger off trying to go lengthwise. During his routine evening hover, he took the knife from me and showed me how easy it was the other (short) way. He so smart!!

Added to the squash were some left over carrots. This seemed to make sense...people make carrot soup all the time, or so I've heard. Not to mention my thought is it could add some pleasing sweetness to the soup.

I also had some sweet potatoes left in the fridge from my sage'd cutlet thought what the heck, let's toss those in as well!

I even had some onion and bacon left over from my Boeuf Bourguignon, so added those to the mix.

Ah, ain't she a beauty?!?! I think once we nail down a blog-ID for Mr. Tester-one (how about that, will this work?!?!) I'll have to name this fabulous addition to the family.

OK, so some oil is added to the pan to start. I rendered out the fat from the bacon and set the crispy bits aside for garnish later.

In go the onions. Look at the lovely brown bacon goodness in the bottom of that pan...oh, it's going to add so much to this soup!

I really like to season the onions as they soften. I am not sure why I ever started doing this, but the smell of onions, thyme, etc is just so tantalizing it makes your mouth water just by its aroma! I also think this gives the herbs a chance to release their packed in flavor.


The sweet potatoes seem the hardest, so I thought I should add those first.

Looking good!

Now you're going to see that expressive side of me kick in...

Since I'm not sure how long the squash will take to soften, it is not too long before I add the whole bowl of butternut squash and carrot to the mix.

The pan and its contents go sooo beautifully together!

Looks like something is missing though...

so I added more seasoning - salt, pepper, thyme, and this time nutmeg.

Mix it up again.

Then add some chicken stock and let it simmer.

The volume goes down quite a bit as the squash, sweet potatoes and carrots soften.

I think we're ready for the next step!

Oh yeah, we're ready :O)

I am ashamed to admit that I have only used my super Kitchaid Blender once, since receiving it as a generous wedding gift. I know, I know...shame on me. The guilt is so much that I debate throwing a margarita party just to give it it's time in the spotlight...hmm, not a bad idea!

Ok, getting off track. So I pureed the soup and added some cream.

This is what I ended up with, looks good, but missing something...

Ah, yes the reserved bacon...cause bacon can make every thing better (or wait is that cheese haha!).

Overall the soup was good, Mr. Testerone (like that?!?) enjoyed a bowl right then and even took it to work as lunch for the next couple of days. Me on the other hand, not a huge fan. I like my soups salty, or creamy, or chunky. While good, this one was not for me.
Butternut Squash & Pureed Soup officially checked off the list of things to try...onto the next experiment!

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