Tuesday, 25 September 2007

I've Always Preferred Squash Over Raquetball

Fall is upon us. At least here in the upper hemisphere. Cooking outdoors gets a little scarce when the temperature starts to drop in the temperate region so we can make the things we miss from last winter.

One of the most requested recipes is probably one of the easiest: Butternut Squash Soup. I find that people either love it or hate it. Some people love it because it is so smooth, creamy, hearty and comforting. I find others hate it because it is often made too sweet or with too many spices. There is a trick I like to use that people usually really love and are surprised that I've added this ingredient.

Truth be told, apples are a no brainer. It's tartness cuts down on the sweetness of the squash and further adds richness to the soup.

There are two ways to prep the soup: peel squash and cut into chunks and then roast (which is my preferred method) or cut squash in half, score flesh and remove seeds and then roast. Either way the final product will be the same. So it's up to you to decide how to roast the squash.

One might ask, why bother roasting the squash? Why not cook in the stock? A perfectly good and easy way to do it; if you like to serve orange water. However, roasting the squash adds colour, flavour from the caramelization of the sugars and the roasting of the spices.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple Purée

2 Medium Sized Butternut Squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1.5 l Stock (Chicken or Vegetable, check for recipe)
4 Tart Apples (Red Delicious, for example), peeled and quatered
1 Large White Onion, finely diced
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
Pinches of Cinnamon, Allspice and Clove
20 ml Maple Syrup
Salt and Pepper to Taste
10 ml 35% Whipping Cream for Garnish (optional)

Preheat oven at 400 degrees.

Peel squash and cut in half. Remove seeds with a spoon. Cut into chunks and place into a large bowl. Drizzle some olive oil and throw on spices and salt. Toss well and place in a baking sheet. Let roast for 10 minutes or until squash is a little brown.

In a large soup pot, saute onion, apple and garlic in some butter. Let cook for 2 minutes. Add stock and roasted squash and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook squash through, 10 minutes. Using a stick or bar blender, puree the soup. If too thick, add stock to desired consistency.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. When serving, drizzle a little cream for garnish.

Serves 8.

A Humble Chef's Tip: If you whip 35% to stiff peaks, add rum or calvados to enhance the flavour of the apples and add some zing to the soup.

No comments: