Earlier this week, I was feeling so adventurous (and so *not* in the mood to go grocery shopping) that I decided to throw lunch together using only the random ingredients in my kitchen and the vision I had in my head of a steaming bowl of butternut squash soup. The squash was wasting away in my fruit basket. The time had come.
To my advantage, I’d had pipe dreams of cooking soup from (mostly) scratch for a while now, and I’d amassed quite the collection of as yet untouched spices and broths. My other weapon of soup domination: my vivid memory of the famous pumpkin soup made by a restaurant I worked at years back. I taste that soup in my dreams and had long ago determined that one day I’d recreate it in a healthier incarnation (as I recall, the only real secret to their renowned soup was cream, butter and salt – and maybe a broth made of chicken feet and rainbows).
Long story short, I did it.
I made a most satisfying bowl of thick, sweet and savory soup, and this week when I came home to Jeff and the kitties, I decided we’d try to not just recreate, but perfect The Heironikin Family Bisque of Butternut Squash.
Our adventure this afternoon began with a crisp autumn stroll to the store in search of the perfect squash specimen (among other things). So clearly it was a sign from the universe when I came across the very last butternut squash in the store and it was magnificent! Actually, this unfortunately shaped squash was so massive that Jeff found it too embarrassing to carry. As I’m the shameless one in the family, I grabbed that sucker and paraded it through the store and all the way home (and fell victim to only one lewd comment from a passing car).
Once in the kitchen, Jeff went to work on his reading for school, and I got down to the business of turning this mofo into The Greatest Soup in the World. Here’s the long and short of it:
1) Start by cutting your squash in half whilst your significant other looks on in sheer terror for your fingers.
2) Remove seeds (yes, you could use a spoon, but I highly recommend digging in with bare hands and squishing squash guts through your fingers while using your best zombie voice to yell, “Brainz…. BRAINZ!!!”
3) Spice and butter (I used and olive oil-based spread) the squash halves and cook at 350-400 degrees for 50 minutes.
4) Peel your two Red Delicious apples and chop into small pieces.
5) Realize that your freakishly large squash is taking *way* longer to cook than it should. Get bored of waiting for it and go work on your blog.
6) Get completely engrossed in writing said blog and nearly burn squash to a crisp.
7) Save squash from imminent carbonization. Here’s a fun game: Try to scrape *very* cooked squash from its skin without scalding off your fingerprints.
8 ) Combine apple chunks, hot squash, chicken broth, almond milk and spices to taste in food processor or blender (aka: The Poor Man’s Cuisinart). Blend on low until mixture looks less like baby barf and more like baby food.
And, donezo! You now have a steaming blenderful of the rockingest squash soup ever known to man. Or something.
At any rate, we had a great time making dinner tonight (and thanks to the monster squash, enough leftover soup to feed the the Israeli army). We paired it with vegetable, sausage and alfredo risotto and had quite the feast.
More importantly, though, it felt (and tasted) pretty freakin’ good to create in the kitchen. More of this to come… guaranteed.