Saturday, December 11, 2010
Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup
This week, Friends at Bulls Head Meeting will be treated to a rich, pureed butternut squash soup. Some of the vegetables I'm using - squash and celeriac - are some of the long-storing produce I got from my CSA earlier in the fall.
I started by seeding, peeling, and chunking 2 large butternut squashes. This takes a bit of muscle, as these are formidable vegetables. To get started, I cut them in half longitudinally using a cleaver and a hammer. Yep, it was loud. I also peeled and chunked a celeriac and 4 large carrots.
I heated a bit of olive oil in my soup pot and added 2 finely chopped medium onions. After they were cooked until translucent and just beginning to brown, I added 8 cups of water (2 quarts), the chunked veggies, 3 bay leaves, salt, pepper, and about a tsp of cardamom. I let this simmer until the veggies were cooked.
If you google 'butternut squash soup', you'll find a lot of recipes and many of them call for nutmeg. I've been reading books about food history and the spice trade lately and that has put me in the mood to do a little exploration with spice, so I'm trying cardamom instead. I like the taste of it in Indian restaurant food, so I'm hoping it will work well in this soup. My initial taste of the broth in progress was promising.
When the veggies were tender (the carrots were the last to be done), I removed the bay leaves and pureed the soup. I used an immersion blender that I borrowed from my landlady, right in the boiling pot on the stove. If you try this, be careful! I did not injure myself, but I could see it happening, especially if I hadn't been wearing long sleeves.
After the soup was pureed, it immediately thickened. I added water and then fortified it with 1/2 cup of quinoa. This will give the soup a bit of protein. The quinoa was cooked after about 20 minutes.
The soup is sweet and comforting. We are expecting some cold weather in the coming week and this soup will be good way to stay warm on the inside. Oh, and the cardamom worked.