Tuesday, February 23, 2010

butternut squash soup

Talk about serendipity... or to quote Ned Flanders "If that don't put the 'dink' in coinkydink!"  I was thinking about using up some butternut squash I had, when I received my weekly newsletter from America's Test Kitchen.  Guess what recipe was featured this week?  You guessed it - butternut squash soup.  

I had the ingredients on hand, and within an hour, I was sipping on some of the best squash soup I've ever had.  The jury is still out on the cinnamon sugar croutons - while tasty on their own, I found them too sweet for my soup.  But you can judge for yourself... this soup is fantastic!  

The method totally intrigued me.  Rather than throwing out the seeds and fibres from the squash, you saute them with butter and shallots.  It intensifies the squash flavour.  Go ahead - try this and you will not be disappointed!  

Butternut Squash Soup
from America's Test Kitchen 

4 tablespoons butter
2 shallots - minced finely
3 pounds butternut squash
six cups water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

(see the link above for a good video on this recipe)

Melt butter in saucepan.  Add shallots to pan over medium low heat.  Don't brown the shallots.

Scrape out the seeds and fibres of the squash.  Saute the scrapings with the shallots and butter for about 4 minutes.

Add water to pot.  Cut each half into quarters.  Place the squash flesh side down in a steamer basket and lower carefully into pot.  Put lid on and simmer for a 1/2 hour.

Transfer the squash to a baking sheet.  Run the remaining liquid through a strainer into a large bowl.  

Take a spoon and scrape out the squash meat.  Puree the squash in a blender in batches with some of the broth.

Put the pureed squash and broth into a dutch oven.  Add sugar, heavy cream and salt and pepper.  Serve with croutons.

Cinnamon Sugar Croutons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut 2 slices of sandwich bread (crusts removed) into 1/2 inch cubes.

Toss with 1 tablespoon melted butter.

Add 2 teaspoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and toss.

Put on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake until crisp - about 8 to 10 minutes.

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