Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup, A Nice Way to Bring Us into Fall

One day last year, my husband came home from work all wide eyed and bushy tailed.  He said he had eaten several bowls of soup at work and asked me if I had ever had Butternut Squash soup before.  I hadn't.  He surprised me with a container of it that he brought home for me.  I could tell he didn't want to share it but thought maybe it would get me to make it.  This recipe comes from his boss who I must have to say is an excellent cook.  I tried the soup and it was delicious.

Later on, my husband pestered his boss enough to get this wonderful recipe.  It is a little spicy from the cayenne.  We also add more butternut squash (taking from 2 squashes) than what it says. In that case, I sometimes double the seasonings.  Butternut squash can be a pain to deal with so I suggest having a very sharp serated knife to cut through it all.  It's ok to cut any stem off too to help.  Also if you're unfamiliar with a leek, you just need to get rid of the dark green part and the hairy end.  Then you need to slice it down the middle lengthwise.  Be sure to wash out any sand and dirt from the layers as this is common.  It's ok to add more garlic if you like garlic like we do.  Soups aren't too picky.  Also if you have a soup blender, it's much easier to use that than to dump all the ingredients in another blender.

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

3 Lbs Butternut Squash, halved and seeds scooped out
2 Tbs Butter
1 Medium Onion, sliced
1 Leek, washed and chopped
2 Cloves Garlic
2 Potatoes, quartered
2x 49.5 oz Cans Chicken Stock
1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/8 tsp Allspice
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Ginger
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 Cup Sherry
1 Cup Half and Half
1/2 Cup Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 375 degrees f.  Pour a thin layer of water in a baking dish.  Place squash halves cut side down and bake 40-50 minutes.  Cool slightly, remove peel and set aside.  Melt the butter in a large stock pot over medium heat.  Add onion, leek and garlic and saute for a few minutes until tender.  Pour chicken broth into the pot.  Add potatoes and bring to a boil.  Cook for about 20 minutes or until soft.  Add the squash and mash with potatoes until chunks are small.  Puree in a blender and return to the pot.  Season the soup with cayenne, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper, then stir in the sherry and half and half.  Heat through, but do not boil.  Ladle into bowls and dollop with sour cream.

If you need to substitute the chicken stock with chicken broth, you can do so.  I would just add a spoonful of chicken soup base then.

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