I love the Fall. I also love Winter, Spring and Summer. They all have good things. Fall has a beautiful quality to the light – and the air feels thinner and cooler even on a hot day. Beautiful colors – even in Los Angeles where we don’t have a big seasonal change. And the food is lovely and comforting and thick and good. Squash. Today was Butternut Squash. I made soup. Alan and I had my Mom over to break-the-fast (Yom Kippur and all). It was a sweet, lovely, unrushed evening. And the soup was really good and different from my usual butternut squash recipe. I started with a recipe from “Eat Local The Cookbook Inspired by America’s Farmers”. It’s a Sur La Table book by Janet Fletcher with a forward by the beloved Alice Waters. I love the book. The recipes are nice. The photos are so pretty – all this youth on small organic farms. Really great. Gives hope for the future.
Here is my rendition of the Eating Local Butternut Squash Soup recipe.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (adapted from the book - Eating Local written by Janet Fletcher)
1 Butternut squash, about 3-4 pounds
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow or sweet white onion, chopped small
1 to 2 large cloves garlic flattened and then minced
1 scant tsp chipotle chile flakes
1/4 tsp chile powder
4 cups homemade vegetable broth (or canned or boxed or chicken broth)
Sea salt as needed
Sage leaves for garnish or roasted and salted pumpkin seeds or grated cotija cheese
Parsley or cilantro for show
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375° Cut the squash into a few sort of equally sized pieces (maybe 10-12 pieces), seed it and place the pieces cut-side down in a baking pan greased with olive oil. Cover with foil and bake for about 45-55 minutes until soft. Cool and then scrape the pulp from the skin and put it in a bowl.
Heat a glug of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the chopped onion and 1 scant tsp chipotle flakes to the pot and sweat/cook until soft about 10 minutes or so. Add the minced garlic and ¼ tsp chile powder and sauté for about a minute. Throw in a big pinch or two of good quality coarse salt.
Add the squash pulp and the broth to the pot. Cover and simmer, stirring a bit. I use frozen vegetable stock that I make a la Mark Bittman ("How to Cook Everything Vegetarian") so I cook it until the frozen stock is melted and liquid and everything is hot and the squash is no longer recognizable as chunks.
Let the soup cool for a few minutes and then put it in a blender and puree. Return it to a clean pot. Add more stock if you want the soup thinner.
Reheat the soup to serve but do not boil. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a few pepitas (roasted, salted, pumpkin seeds), or sage leaves, or some grated cotija cheese and maybe a sprig or two or parsley or cilantro on the top.
My mom loved it. Said it wasn’t too spicy. She liked the heat and said that it toned down the sweetness of the soup. So there you have it. The first squash recipe of the season!
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