Thursday, November 29, 2012

Roasted butternut squash soup

A few weeks ago or a month I don't remember now. Someone invited me to a soup pot luck. I was feeling lazy the day I was asked so I planned on stopping and picking up soup at New England Soup Factory. However, at the last minute my obsessive nature kicked in and I decided that I needed to make soup. I was feeling really obsessed with Roasted butternut squash soup in particular so I set out to find an easy recipe to make. Then I got worried about it coming out wrong so I of course made another soup but that is for a different post.
Of course Williams-Sonoma came through with an easy recipe. The recipe below is adapted from this one.

2 large butternut squashes, each 1 1/2 to 2 lb.
olive oil
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
4 large shallots, chopped
8 fresh sage leaves, shredded
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or canned broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Ground nutmeg, to taste, if needed
Pinch of sugar, if needed
1/3 cup hazelnuts
Preheat an oven to 400°F.

Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Then, brush the flesh with olive oil and place skin up flesh down on a baking pan covered with tin foil ( if you can find grill foil I highly recommend it). Roast until they feel somewhat soft to the touch and a knife penetrates the skin easily, about 45 min-1 hour. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle remove the skin.

While the squashes are cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and the skins have loosened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and, while still warm, place the nuts in a kitchen towel. Rub the towel vigorously to remove the skins; do not worry if small bits of skin remain. run them through a food processor for a couple of pulses to chop them up.

In a large soup pot saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and the sage and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are tender and translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the stock and squash pulp, raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for a few minutes to combine the flavors. Remove from the heat.

Use an immersion blender to smooth out the soup ( alternatively you could blend the soup in batches in a food processor or blender but this soup is practically made for an immersion blender.  Reheat gently over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. If the squash is starchy rather than sweet, a little nutmeg will help. If the nutmeg does not give the proper flavor balance, add a pinch of sugar. This is a nice basic butternut squash soup but, if you want to add a little kick  you can add some fresh ginger to taste before you blend the soup.

The hazelnuts are meant to be an optional garnish but I personally refuse to eat this soup without them.

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