Sunday, April 13, 2014

Roasted squash soup with potato and apple

I swirled in some sour cream for the photo, but it's delicious unadorned as well. 
Saturday morning I spent a good hour peeling a big squash (a job in itself), a potato and an apple, then mixed them in spices and oil in a large casserole dish, and roasted them in the oven. Then, 20 minutes away from doneness, after feeding the babies, putting them down for a nap, cleaning up, and making and eating our own lunch, tiredness overcame me and I succumbed to a three-hour nap. (My body is now programmed to nap when the babies do — it's the only way I get through the weekend!). I woke up with a start and rushed to the oven, only to find black lava cakes, which were the remnants of my lovely squash cubes. The next day I tried again despite feeling discouraged. I used the much easier method outlined below and came to realization that the weekend is too darn short to spend peeling squashes, especially if it's likely you are going to burn them. Much quicker and easier to bake them in their skins. Anyway, this soup was worth the effort, trust me!

Roasted squash soup with potato and apple

1 butternut squash, halved, seeded and stringy bits removed
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 large shallot, diced
1 sprig fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups water (optional)
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Arrange the squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. With a basting brush, brush the butter mixture all over the tops and insides of the squash. Reserve the remaining butter mixture for later.

Put the squash in the oven for 40-50 minutes or until tender and golden. Take it out of the oven and set it aside to cool for five minutes. Scoop out the flesh and put it in a bowl. Discard the skins.

In a stock pot, heat the remaining butter mixture. Saute the onion, shallot and apple in the pot for six minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring constantly, for one more minute. Add the diced potato and the cooked squash. Pour in the chicken stock and enough water to cover. (I add more water than necessary to increase the volume of soup so it lasts through several lunches.) Add the bay leaf. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the potato is cooked. Remove the bay leaf.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender until silky and smooth.

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