Thursday, December 16, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash, Leek and Apple Soup

Roasted Butternut Squash, Leek and Apple Soup

It feels good to be back to making soups again.  Lately we've been living off of store-bought soups, and there are some pretty good ones out there nowadays, but nothing tastes better to me than homemade soup.

The items I had on hand were butternut squash, shitake mushrooms, ginger and leeks.  Later, I remembered I had a Granny Smith apple, too, and it added a beautiful note to this soup.

First, I roasted the butternut squash, tossed with a little olive oil and salt, at 400 degrees until soft, about 30 minutes.  This was two containers of pre-cut, pre-washed squash.  Lay them in a single layer.

Meanwhile, in a soup pot, I started to saute the mushrooms in a knob of butter.  Then, added a splash of olive oil to the pan to keep the butter from burning.

Leeks have to be washed thoroughly, due to the grit they have in their layers.  I like to slice the green tops and roots off , then slice the stalks longways, then across to create crescents.  Then, I put them in the salad spinner basket, and rinse them twice, at least, under cold water. Be sure to spin them dry before adding them to the pot.

While the mushrooms and leek cook down, I peeled, cored and chopped the apple.  And grated about a tablespoon of fresh ginger, and threw them into the pot.  Be sure to salt the veggies, lightly, along the way.

Next it was time to choose the seasonings.  Curry and butternut squash go well together, but I did not want the soup to be hot, so I chose Sweet Curry which is spicy and rich.  About 2 Tablespoons.

I often add coriander to add some mystery.  1/2 teaspoon.

And a little cumin for some earthiness.  It is a back note for the soup, like the mushrooms are, too. 1 teaspoon.

Coat the veggies with the spices, then add a large can of chicken broth.  If you want a thinner soup, you could add more liquid here.  Bring to a simmer.

Add the roasted butternut squash.  Cover and cook on medium-low for half hour.  Turn off the heat and cool slightly.

Puree.

Add something to smooth it out into a creamy soup.  I like to use lowfat canned 2% milk, instead of cream or half' n'half, to keep it lighter in calories without sacrificing flavor.

For a garnish, I pulled out the cilantro from its refrigerator greenhouse -- it is still fresh in its second week I was pleasantly surprised to see-- you could use basil or parsley

and ladled it into a soup plate.  This is a thick and satisfying soup.  We had it for dinner with some crispy crackers.   Would have been good with a toasted Parmesan pita or brushetta, too.

Serves 6.  So, we had plenty leftover for lunch today.
B

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