Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This soup is actually two recipes in one. The roasted squash prior to becoming a soup can be used as a side dish for the Thanksgiving turkey. My cousin loved the roasted squash when I made it for her Thanksgiving dinner and it is now something I do every now and then whenever I have the need for a savory side dish. The recipe is adapted from Michael Chiarello and with so many compnents to this soup, it might get confusing so I'll try to deconstruct this recipe to make it a bit simpler.

Let's start with the spice mix. This recipe yields about a cup so you can adjust the measurements to suit your needs. It lasts for a long time in the freezer though so I make a big batch of this spice rub which can also be used as a marinade for another recipe, Forever Roasted Pork, but that is for another post. 

Toasted Spice Rub:
1/4 cup fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup (1-ounce) pure California chili powder
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp ground cinnamon

1. Toast the fennel and coriander seeds with the peppercorns in a small, 

    heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, add 
    the red pepper flakes and toss. Immediately turn the spice mixture out 
    onto a plate to cool.

2. Put mixture into a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon 

    and blend until the spices are evenly ground. Keep the spice mix in a 
    glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze.

Butternut Squash
Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Now, the second part is the roasted butternut squash. It has its own recipe and I encourage you to try the roasted squash once you take it out of the oven. It is very delicious and the marinade that thickens during the roasting process is both sweet and salty and perfectly flavors the squash. 

Roasted Winter Squash:
3 lb butternut squash (preferably 1 large squash)
Gray salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
2 tsp Toasted spice rub, recipe above

1. Preheat the oven to 400
°F. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler, halve 
    lengthwise, discard the seeds, then cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a large 
    bowl and season with salt and pepper.

2. Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the 

    butter ceases to foam and has turned a light brown, pull the pan off the 
    heat and immediately add the sage, sugar, vinegar, molasses and toasted 
    spice rub. Mix well and let simmer over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to 
    meld the flavors.

3. Pour the vinegar mixture over the squash and toss well, then transfer to a 

    heavy rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash 
    in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast, tossing at least once, until 
    very tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside until 
    cool enough to handle but still warm.

And now, finally for the soup. The hard work is really in making the spice rub and in roasting the squash. What is left is to make a savory broth which acts as the base of the soup. It is very simple and it allows the flavors of the roasted squash to take center stage. 

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup - Adapted*

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced celery
1/4 cup diced carrot
1 cinnamon stick
Sea salt, preferably gray salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
1/2 tsp ground toasted coriander
1 1/2 cups roasted Winter Squash recipe
1/2 cup half-and-half, optional
Sour cream

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium and add the onion, celery, 

    carrot, and cinnamon stick and saute until soft but not brown, about 10 
    minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the chicken stock and the coriander and bring to a boil. Simmer for 

    several minutes. Stir in the squash then simmer gently to let the flavors 
    meld, about 10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

3. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pan and 

    reheat gently. Add the half-and-half, if using. Adjust the seasoning with 
    salt and pepper. Keep warm until ready to serve.

4. Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream if 


* Food Network Channel, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello:Engagement Party episode, 2007

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