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Inspiration to Execution: Butternut Squash Soup

December 27, 2010
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I decided that perhaps the best way to document some of the meals we create is a new series I like to call: “Inspiration to Execution”

The combination of our 2 cooking styles means that I love to find recipes as inspiration for a specific ingredient but the actual meal never manages to follow it. The few times recently that I have actually followed an recipe to the T, I end up regretting it and wishing I had followed my gut on it. 

So to kick things off, tonight we have:

Butternut Squash Soup
Inspiring Recipe By:  Giada De Laurentiis

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium sized butternut squash – roughly 3-4 lbs
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup buttermilk

First step is to break down the squash. Peel, cut in half, scrape out the seeds and stringy mess, and cut into roughly 1 inch cubes. Next chop your onion, carrot and garlic. In a stock pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot and dried mushrooms (in this case I used porcinis), cooking for about 5 minutes or until the onions are soft. Add the garlic, stirring for roughly 30 seconds. Add the squash and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once the boil is good and goin, add the chopped sage. In this case I only had about half of the fresh sage I needed, so I substituted dried sage for the rest, just remember, dried herbs go alot further than fresh ones so scale down your measurement if you are using dried. General rule of thumb is one “serving” of dried = three “servings” of fresh. Cover and let simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

Once veggies are tender, remove the pot from the heat, and break out your immersion blender (see this past post for my recommendation), if you do not have one a regular blender or food processor will also work, just be sure the lid is on tight! Blend until mixture is smooth. Add buttermilk (regular milk or cream will work here, I just wanted to give it a bit more smooth and silky flavor and happened to have buttermilk around). Give the whole thing one last blend, add salt and pepper to taste, and place back on the heat. No lid this time, just bring to a simmer and let it go for about another 20 minutes so it reduces down a bit more and loses some of its liquid. 

I nixed the “Fontina Cheese Crostinis” in her recipe, and opted for the most delicious grown up grilled cheese I’ve ever had. Using a bit of every cheese we had in the fridge – goat, gouda, cheddar. It really doesn’t get much better than that, Krafts got nothin on this sandwich! I recommend a side of balsamic for dipping.

Overall it was a fantastic meal – the soup is very rich so I recommend it best as a side dish and not your entire meal. If you’ve got the time I also think it would add a great flavor to the mix if you roasted the squash first before adding. Simply cut the squash in half, take out the goop, rub with olive oil, place cut side down on a baking sheet and roast until soft. Then I would just scoop it out and add with the stock and follow the directions as stated above. 

Enjoy!

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