My counter is full of squash. Acorn. Butternut. Spaghetti. All rolling around and teeter-tottering about like vegetable weeble wobbles. Squash was not meant to lay about on a countertop. I fear that they will eventually end up cracked and splattered on the floor before I find the time and energy to create a dish that would be eatable …
I don’t mind the squash on my countertop as they are my only fall decorations…I bet my CSA didn’t know they were providing a bedecking service once they started harvesting squash. Perishable decorations however at some point in time need to be eaten. I don’t have many dishes to hide squash in…and yes, I hide squash. There is the ever so popular mac and cheese or the fancy schmancy butternut squash risotto, both of which claim to be crowd pleasers. I am not sure about just eating it roasted because I have this misconception that it should be as sweet as a sweet potato, but it isn’t and it never will be. And therefore, I need to load up the vegetable with butter and brown sugar, and while I see very little wrong with this picture, I feel like I am pushing squash to be something it isn’t. A sweet potato. You see, they may have similar color…but no go on the level of sugar. If the vegetable is bright orange, I have a level of sweetness that I inherently connect with it…sweet potatoes, sweet. Carrots, sweet. Yams, sweet. Butternut squash, not sweet. So upsetting! So, over the years I have had quite a few of so-called failed dishes because they missed the flavor bullseye in my brain because I was hoping for a bit of sweetness when I should have been striving and expecting a savory end result…my mistake. I am in the midst of reshaping my thinking. Altering my taste buds. Maturing if you will.
So, with this in mind…and more squash expected in this weeks CSA and a lack of any more counter space for fall decorations, and a craving for comfort in a bowl…I went in search of a decent soup recipe. I knew going in, the basics of a butternut squash soup. I knew how to roast the squash. I knew how to saute my onion and garlic. I knew how to add chicken stock and bring it to a boil. I knew how to puree until smooth. I knew to add cream at the end. I knew to top with chopped chives and a dollop of crème fraîche. I, however, needed help with the spices. Deb of Smitten Kitchen to the rescue. And come to find out…cumin, ginger, thyme, and sage are exactly what you need. Que Simon and Garfunkel. She is genius. But I already knew that and I am betting you did too.
So with the right spices on board and a change in mind-set from sweet to savory…I made a bowl of roasted butternut squash soup that was quite enjoyable and necessary on Saturday as the cold rain fell and we curled up on the couch and settled in for a day of sweatpants and Netflix.
And seriously, the parmesan crisps are a must and take literally 6 minutes to whip up…maybe 8 if you are grating your own cheese, which huge props to you…I have a tendency to buy pre-shredded parmesan cheese because I abhor shredding cheese of any kind and plus I like to snack on parmesan cheese throughout the day…a pinch here and a pinch there…talk about salty goodness.
- 1 Butternut Squash – medium in size
- 1 Acorn Squash
- 4 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Sweet Onion, small dice
- 4 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2½ to 3 Cups Chicken Broth
- 1+1/2 Teaspoon Sage finely chopped
- 1+1/2 Teaspoon Thyme finely chopped
- 1+1/2 Teaspoon ground Cumin
- ½ Teaspoon ground Ginger
- ¼ Cup Heavy Cream (or half and half)
- chives (optional)
- Creme Fraiche or Sour Cream (optional)
- Parmesan Crisps
- 2 Tablespoons Freshly grated Parmesan per crisp.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Cut butternut squash and acorn squash in half, length wise. With a sturdy knife, slice off top of squash close to stem. Scoop out seeds and membranes. Lay face up on a tinfoil lined baking sheet and roast for about 30 to 45 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Once cool, scoop out the squash flesh and place in bowl, set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and garlic, saute until translucent. About 10 minutes.
- Add chicken broth, cooled squash flesh, sage, thyme, cumin, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Working in small batches, transfer soup to a blender and puree until smooth, transferring pureed soup back into original pan. Once all the soup is pureed, stir in cream and salt and pepper to taste. (if the soup is too thick, stir in a bit more broth until desired consistency is reached…I like a thicker soup, so I used only 2 +1/2 cups) Bring soup to a simmer over low heat and prepare parmesan crisps.
- Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Neatly mound 2 tablespoonfuls of grated parmesan cheese per crisp on lined baking sheet 3 inches apart. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes until edges are browned and centers are bubbly. Remove from oven and let cool. These are best slightly warm or at room temperature.
- Serve soup with a dollop of creme fraiche, chopped chives, and a parmesan crisp or two.