Editor’s Note: Today’s blog post is brought to you by my friend Job. We met my freshman year of college when I stumbled into his fraternity house after a boat cruise. I sat down next to him on the stairs, he bit me in the leg, and a magical friendship was born. These days Job is a ski bum in Tahoe, and dabbles in mostly vegetarian cooking. Here is his recipe for butternut squash soup.
Living up in Tahoe, groceries are expensive and we usually wait until we have a reason to go to Reno to restock the fridge and cabinet. Typically, I flip through the cookbook to find a handful of recipes to make over the next couple of weeks, buy the ingredients for those recipes plus a healthy supply of pastas, cereal and everything else that would suggest I haven’t made any progress in my grocery shopping from my college days.
The recipes picked out for this trip, as a preview of some future posts, were goat cheese macaroni, pear and gorgonzola salad, four cheese risotto, artichoke heart pizza and butternut squash soup. This evening I made the butternut squash soup.
Butternut squash soup is stupidly simple.
Chop up a squash, put it in a broth, flavour, cook, blend, serve.
Since I’m also going to need stock for the risotto, I wanted to make my own vegetable stock – so here is that first.
(Roasted Vegetable Stock)
– 4 carrots cut into chunks
– 2 potatoes quartered
– 2 onions
– 6 garlic cloves
– 1/3 cup olive oil
– 8oz (about 20) white mushrooms
– 1/2 cup soy sauce
– 10 peppercorns
– Green herbs of choice, chopped
– 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into large pieces
** Don’t try to be delicate or precise with it. Take the big knife and just cut away.
(1) Preheat the oven at 450.
(2) Put the carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, and mushrooms into a roasting pan and drizzle with the olive oil.
(3) Roast in the oven until everything is browned, about 45min to 1 hour.
(4) Scoop out all the vegetables into a pot. Add soy sauce, peppercorns, and chopped herbs.
** I like to use a pressure cooker for this, but its not necessary. HTCEV recommends that you de-glaze the roasting pan by boiling two cups of water in the roasting pan on the stove top and scraping off the remaining bits of food, but I didn’t find it necessary to boil anything. I just scraped and put 3 quarts of water into the pressure cooker.
(5) Cook until the vegetables are soft.
** I had the pressure cooker at pressure for about half an hour and it turned out fine.
(6) Pour contents of pressure cooker pot into a large bowl or container. Strain and press the vegetables to get out all the moisture you can. Set aside.
** Whatever stock doesn’t get used for the butternut squash can be frozen and used later.
(7) Throw the squash into the pressure cooker and add 4-5 cups of the vegetable stock you just made.
** The original recipe calls for 4-5 cups stock but when I made the soup, I didn’t use exact stock measurements. I just added a little at a time as I was blending my squash, until the soup reached the consistency I wanted.
(8) Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
(9) Pressure cook your squash for half an hour.
(10) Season with cinnamon, all-spice and nutmeg to taste, but use approximately 1 tsp of each.
** Ginger might also be a good option.
(11) Transfer cooked squash to a blender, along with a splash of stock. Blend until smooth, slowly adding more stock along the way until the soup reaches your preferred consistency.
(12) Serve, eat, and hopefully enjoy.