The Best Way to Start Your Thanksgiving Meal

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Butternut squash…

My favorite fall vegetable and the perfect accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal.

Naturally sweet yet versatile enough to shine in savory preparations, butternut squash belongs on your holiday table.

While I enjoy it roasted, mashed and even grilled, my favorite way to eat it is in my Butternut Squash soup.

MAKE YOUR OWN RECIPE

Using my recipe below as background on technique, how might you make your own recipe? How about you?

Add ingredients?

  • Render bacon as a base for your soup
  • Add apples, pears or carrots to your roasting pan
  • Add beef, chicken, lamb or even chorizo
  • Stir in a can of rinsed and drained cannellini beans
  • Finish your soup with a bit of heavy cream

Diversify the flavors?

  • Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin to create a Moroccan soup
  • Add curry powder and coconut milk for a truly exotic experience

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole butternut squash
  • 1 vidalia (or other sweet) onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 2 quarts of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400*
  2. Cut the butternut squash into 1-2 inch cubes
  3. Toss the squash with olive oil, salt and pepper
  4. Roast until tender and caramelized (approximately 45 minutes)
  5. Slice the onion and cook in olive oil with salt and pepper in a heavy bottom pot on medium-low heat until caramelized (stir regularly and add a splash of water or stock mid-way if onions begin to burn)
  6. Add your roasted squash and allow it to further caramelize with the onions. Stir regularly, scraping the bottom of the pan, to incorporate the fonds – the drippings on the bottom of the pot – as they are highly desirable for flavor.
  7. Smash your garlic and add it to the pot
  8. Add your cayenne, sage and paprika and heat through
  9. Deglaze your pan with the red wine vinegar, making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release all the fonds
  10. Once the vinegar has reduced, add the chicken stock
  11. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer
  12. After simmering for a minimum of 30 minutes, puree the mixture in a blender and return to the pot
  13. Add more chicken stock if you desire a thinner consistency
  14. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper
  15. Top with Osem soup croutons –they’re delicious with this soup!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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