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The First Soup of the Season – Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

Okay, so the weather hasn’t been exactly fall weather here the last 2 days, with temperatures getting up into the 80s during the day on both days, but it still seems to be that soup time of year. Things cooled down quite a bit last night and should be back more towards normal here, which means brisk autumn air that makes for good soup weather. With so many great fall vegetables around right now, particularly a bunch of different root vegetables, the opportunities are there to make all kinds of good soups. One that has always been a family favorite of ours has been butternut squash soup and since squash is so plentiful right now  I knew I just had to make some soup the other night. I had picked up a couple of butternut squash at the farmer’s market last week, along with some carrots, celery root and leeks and I knew this was all going to come together nicely for a soup dinner. I decided to use this recipe from Molly O’Neill at New York Times Cooking for a baked butternut squash soup and adapted it to include some other great root vegetables to make it my own.

Baked Butternut Squash and Celery Root Soup

2 butternut squash, about 1 pound each, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

medium leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed well and finely chopped

1 celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons honey

teaspoon each of mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice

 

3 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Place the squash, carrots leeks and celery root in a shallow roasting pan or casserole dish. Sprinkle the olive oil over the vegetables, add salt and pepper to taste and toss the vegetables in the oil to coat them well. Drizzle the vegetables with the honey and add the mace, ground ginger, cinnamon and allspice and toss the vegetables again so they are well mixed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast the vegetables in the oven for about 20 minutes. Remove the foil from the pan and continue roasting the vegetables until they are lightly browned and fork tender, about another 20 to 25 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, heat the chicken broth in a large pot or Dutch oven until it is simmering. Remove the pan from the oven and place the vegetables in the pot with the broth and mix them well. All the broth and vegetables to continue simmering for about 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and using an immersion blender, blend the vegetables and broth together until the vegetables are smooth (You can also do this in a blender in batches if you prefer). Return the pot to the stove and bring the soup slowly to a boil over medium-low heat and then stir in the heavy cream. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parsley, if desired.

You get some great combinations of flavors here with the squash, celery root, carrots and leeks. The honey just bumps up the sweetness a tiny bit here and the spices, even though they are in small amounts, add just the right touch. I like roasting the vegetables before putting them in the soup because they get nice and tender and seem to have better flavor this way than if you sautéed them in a pan or the same pot as the soup. You can leave out the heavy cream if you prefer but I added it because it helps create some great texture to the soup. The soup would benefit even more if you added a peeled and sliced apple to the vegetables when roasting, but I didn’t have any on hand so I left it out. You could also easily make this a vegetarian meal by using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth or just using water.This makes a nice batch of soup so you can have leftovers for other meals or lunches and we had the soup with sandwiches for dinner, but you could easily have it by itself, with some croutons, a salad or just with some homemade bread or biscuits. It was a great way to kick off what hopefully is the first of some awesome soups and stews this year.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 20, 2016 in Leftovers, Lunch, One Pot Meals, Vegetables, Vegetarian

 

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Soup Season in Full Bloom – Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

The weather has started to get a little more Fall-like around here the last few days so I had planned to make a couple of soups this week to fit the occasion. Soups make a great dinner because they are filling, delicious and nutritious all in one. I had bought a butternut squash at our friend’s farmstand this past weekend and then I found this great recipe from Michael Chiarello for a different butternut squash soup recipe than I had made before. It makes use of some different spices to give a different flavor and roasting the squash with some of these ingredients really added something to the meal.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

For the Toasted Spice Rub:

1/4 cup fennel seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 tablespoon peppercorns

1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chili powder

2 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the Roasted Squash:

3 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large squash)

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage leaves

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup dark molasses

2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub

For the Soup:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup diced onion

1/4 cup diced celery

1/4 cup diced carrot

1 cinnamon stick

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 1/2 cups Roasted Winter Squash

1/2 cup half-and-half

For the spice rub: Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, turn on the exhaust fan above your stove, add the red pepper flakes and toss the mixture vigorously. Immediately turn the mixture out into a bowl to cool.

When the mixture has cooled, place it in a blender or spice mill with the chili powder, salt and cinnamon and blend until all the spices are evenly ground. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a  cool, dry place.

For the squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, halve lengthwise and discard any of the seeds. Cut the squash into 1-inch diced pieces. Place the squash in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming and has turned a light brown, pull the pan off the heat and add the sage, sugar, vinegar (keep your face back when you add the vinegar), molasses and the toasted spice rub. Mix well and allow it to simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to meld the flavors.

Pour the  vinegar mixture over the squash and toss well. Transfer the squash to a heavy, rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Place the squash in the oven and roast, tossing at least once, until it is very tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set the squash aside until it is cool enough to handle but still warm, so the liquids are still runny.

Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the warm squash and all the cooking liquids to a food processor and process until the mixture is smooth. You can use the squash immediately or refrigerate it for up to 5 days or freeze it for up to 2 months.

For the soup: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot and cinnamon stick and saute until the vegetables are soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring the mixture to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash until it is smooth, then simmer gently, allowing the flavors to meld, about 10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Puree the soup in a blender, in batches if necessary, until it is smooth. Return the soup to the pan and re-heat it gently. Add the half-and-half and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm until you are ready to serve.

A couple of things about this recipe. The toasted spice rub makes quite a bit of spice mix. If you think you will use it again later on, it’s great to have on hand. I cut the recipe in half and still had plenty leftover so you can do that if you don’t want a lot of spice mix. You can use the squash puree for other things as well if you didn’t want to make soup with it. I think it would be a great side dish for chicken or turkey just as it is. You could also use other winter squash if you prefer, like acorn squash, and I think it would do just as well. The soup itself has a very roasted, toasty flavor to it. You can certainly taste the spices coming through in the soup but they do not over power the dish at all. I loved the creaminess of the squash and found it to be a very hearty meal. If you use vegetable stock or water instead of the chicken stock, you can make this a vegetarian meal.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another soup recipe I just tried. This one was made in the slow cooker and can also be a vegetarian dish, so check back for that one tomorrow. Until next time, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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A Thanksgiving Day Soup

Since I posted what I plan to do with the turkey and stuffing on Thanksgiving in yesterday’s post, I thought I would put down today the soup I plan to make as well. I had planned to make a butternut squash soup all along, and I have several recipes that I like, so I was trying to decide which one would be the best to go with. I finally settled on this one from America’s Test Kitchen and am combining it with some others I have seen to sort of make my own. This recipe also uses some Cinnamon-Sugar Croutons, which are a nice little touch at the end.

Butternut Squash Soup

4 tablespoons butter

2 medium shallots, minced

3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks

5 cups chicken broth

2 sprigs thyme

Pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the squash, broth, thyme and nutmeg. Bring to simmer, cover and cook until the squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove the thyme sprigs and puree the soup in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot. Stir in the cream. Bring to a brief simmer, then remove it from the heat. if the soup seems too thick, thin it out with additional broth or water. Season it with salt and pepper to taste before serving. Sprinkle individual servings with nutmeg, if desired.

You can make this soup ahead of time, which I plan to do, right through the puree step, and cool, cover and refrigerate it for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months. Just re-heat the soup over low heat, adding additional water or broth to adjust the consistency before proceeding with adding the cream.

There are a number of things you can top this soup with to suit your tastes. You could use the nutmeg, or paprika, a little balsamic vinegar, some crumbled bacon, slices of crispy prosciutto or even slices of apple or pear. I saw this quick little recipe for CInnamon Sugar Croutons from America’s Test Kitchen, so I am going to try that one.

Cinnamon-Sugar Croutons

4 slices white sandwich bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes with the crusts removed

2 tablespoons melted butter

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the bread cubes with the melted butter in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle over the bread cubes and toss to combine.

Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. The croutons can be stored in an airtight container for several days. Sprinkle over the soup just before serving.

I think they will add a nice flavor and crunch to the soup. Overall, I think it is the perfect opening course to Thanksgiving dinner.

Okay, so we have the turkey, stuffing and soup taken care of, so tomorrow I will talk about some of the side dishes I am planning, which are a slow cooker version of the classic green bean casserole and a sweet potato casserole. Check back and see if you like them. I plan to post pictures of everything after I cook it all on Thursday, so check back for that as well. Until then, enjoy your day and enjoy your meal!

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Cooking, Dinner, Holidays, Soups & Stews

 

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Jennifer Probst

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Laissez Faire

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