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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Winter Squash Soup

Really, any winter squash works fine for this; I just like the combination of the acorn and butternut squash.  You can even throw in some canned pumpkin in a pinch.  Peeling and chopping winter squash is a huge pain in the ass; the flesh/skin is tough as hell and slippery and the juice leaves a weird residue on your hands.  Therefore, unless you have a touch of masochist in you and relish the idea of suffering, I strongly recommend slicing the squash in half, scooping out the seeds, and baking it for an hour at 375 degrees and then scooping out the soft, cooked flesh with a spoon.

2 T butter
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
40 oz or so chicken broth
2 butternut squash, peeled and chopped*
2 acorn squash, peeled and chopped*
Sprig or two of fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp dried)
Sprig or two of fresh sage (or 1/4 tsp dried)
2-4 teaspoons sugar (to taste; this depends on how sweet the squash is...you may not need any)
1/2 cup of milk or 1/4 cup of cream (really, you can omit this but the milk does add a nice creaminess to the soup)
Freshly ground black pepper
Salt, if needed (usually not)

Saute onion and garlic (and squash, if peeled and chopped) in butter until onion is translucent.  Add chicken broth and herbs, bring to a simmer and cover, cooking for about half an hour or so.  After 30 minutes, remove the fresh herbs.  Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth.  (A hand blender, by the way, is an amazing appliance to have for this...you can just puree away in the pot and don't have to worry about the possibility of spilling a vat of boiling liquid on yourself).  Add milk and sugar (if needed) and adjust other seasonings if necessary.

*see disclaimer at beginning

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