Long winter nights are good for looking at neighbors. Not in a nosy way. At least not especially. Two nights ago, I sat on the couch tapping out a last-minute blog post, and looked up to notice that it had turned dark outside. Through the lights of neighbor’s kitchen window I saw her standing at the stove, a gleaming stainless steel immersion blender in her hand. For butternut squash soup, I’m sure of it.
Spice blends are an awfully nice thing to have. We’ve been using Herbes de Romance that Claire made and sent off into homes after Ian and Amanda’s wedding in September. Stirred into just about anything it’s delicious, but tossed in with caramelized onions that become the base for butternut squash soup, it’s at its best: rosemary, parsley, coriander, garlic, mint, onion, cumin, rose geranium, French tarragon and oregano flowers.
Butternut squash soup isn’t always delicious. But when you make your own and steer clear of the gloppy sweet stuff steaming away in cafeteria-style restaurants, you realize it can be.
No need for an immersion blender or otherwise. Cook the soup down until all the bits have mostly broken by themselves and then smash the biggest chunks with the back of your wooden spoon.
Croutons make salads and soups and most everything else more enjoyable. We make them at least twice a week in our house. I have no regrets.
I’ve written this here before, but that post is a million and a half years old and begging for an update.
Butternut Squash Soup – a sort of recipe ripe for adaptation
1/2 large yellow onion, or 1 medium onion, sliced
olive oil or butter, a tablespoon or two
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
sea salt to taste
herbes de provence, or any other favorite spice blend that you’re taken with, to taste
1. Slice the onion and mix with a tablespoon or two of herbs and sea salt (don’t be stingy with either); cook on medium heat in a tablespoon or so olive or butter, until richly golden brown and melty.
2. Add the cubed butternut squash to the pot with the onions, stir until coated with olive oil and add water enough to cover the top of the squash. Cover and let boil away for 20-30 minutes or until the squash begins to break down.
3. Use a wooden spoon to smash any large chunks, or blend with an immersion blender if you must. Finish with a healthy pour of heavy cream.
4. Serve with freshly made croutons or slices of crusty bread. Or, if you’re feeling very ambitious, make to serve alongside apple and onion hand pies with cheddar and sage.
More butternut squash comfort food, here.