squash winter’s chill

The news that winter arrived early last week had me shivering before I even went outside.

So, to go along with a big fall Sunday dinner of baked chicken breasts, braised turnip greens, poached Mt. Lebanon Lions Farmers Market quince, and La Gourmandine baguette, I took a big farmers market butternut squash I’d been saving and turned it into one of my favorite cold-weather soups. squashsoup

I originally got the recipe for this Cream of Squash Soup from a Saveur cookbook, but it’s so easy that these days I just wing it. You can wing it, too. The ingredient amounts and cooking times do not need to be exact, and you can make the soup thick or thin, vegetarian or vegan, as you wish.

It’s delicious and it will warm you to the very core.

Cream of Squash Soup

I always save the squash seeds to lightly salt and roast on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven.

2 tablespoons butter

2 medium onions, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, cut into large chunks (roughly 4 to 6 cups)

1/2 head cauliflower, cut into large pieces (roughly 2 to 3 cups)

16-ounce container chicken stock or broth

8-ounce container heavy or whipping cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whole nutmeg for grating (or ground nutmeg)

 

In a deep soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter and add onions, cooking for about 5 minutes.

Add squash and cauliflower and cook for about 5 minutes more.

Add stock or broth, stir with a wooden spoon, and simmer until vegetables are soft — about 20 minutes.

Using an immersion blender (or a regular blender), puree vegetable mixture until smooth.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

When ready to serve, stir at least 4 ounces of cream into warm soup. (Add more cream for a richer soup. If soup is thicker than you like, you can thin with additional broth or stock or water.)

Ladle soup into warm bowls and top each with a dusting of nutmeg.

— adapted from “Saveur Cooks Authentic French” (Chronicle, 1999)

Read more of Bob’s blog at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: pgplate.com/forks.

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