Lunch at my desk September 23, 2009
Butternut squash soup with browned butter, cooked in a Tagine September 6, 2009
Today we enjoyed a tremendous butternut squash soup that nearly didn’t happen. We didn’t have a couple of my typical ingredients and it was only at the last minute that I decided to wing it with what I had on hand.
Today’s recipe is my own but is based loosely on the number of times I have cooked Baked Winter Squash Soup from Julie Rosso and Sheila Lukins’ book The New Basics.
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 acorn squash
- 2 Russet potatoes (or, if you’ve got it, one medium / large sweet potato)
- 2 small yellow onions
- 1 small red bell pepper (added at the last minute because the whole set looked a little monochromatic to me)
- 3 14 oz cans of fat free, sodium free chicken broth
- sprig of fresh oregano or other herb of choice
- 1/4 cup of butter
- ~1/4 cup brown sugar loosely packed
- scant 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder or more to taste
- Olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Peel the potatoes and squash and dice into 1-2 inch squares. Dice the red pepper. (I typically gauge the dice by the size of the first knuckle on my thumb) Place into a dutch oven, or if you’ve got one: a tagine.
Drizzle with 1 -2 TBSP olive oil to coat all the veg. Season with freshly ground pepper and about two teaspoons Kosher salt. Add half a can of chicken broth.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for an hour, or until all the veg is steamed through. You want it to be very tender. Let it all cool for a bit as blending thick, hot soups can be painful or even hazardous if you end up with a spill.
While the soup cools, prepare the browned butter by melting the butter in a sautee pan. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons of brown sugar and chipotle chili powder to taste. Cook on medium heat until the butter has stopped foaming and the sugar is just beginning to melt and caramelize.
(Note: this entire step was a happy accident – I’d realized after the veg were cooked that I’d forgotten the butter and chili powder. This step was my improvisation to try and save the day – it turns out, in my opinion, to be what really makes this recipe!)
Blend the soup in batches adding chicken stock to help it all puree.
Make sure to add the browned butter to one your blender batches – you may need a rubber scraper to get all the sugary yum yum off your sautee pan.
I like my soup nice and thick and so only added just enough broth to get the veg to cooperate with the blender.
Heat the soup gently on your cooktop to bring it back up to temperature and serve.