Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Soup of the Evening

“Beautiful soup
So rich
 So green,
Waiting in a hot tureen
Who for such dainties would not stoop.

Soup of the evening
Beautiful Soup,
Soup of the evening,
Beautiful Soup”
          -Lewis Carroll -- "Alice in Wonderland"
Realizing I've lamented numerous times on the abundance of Butternut Squash both last year and the volunteer vines this year, I still enjoy it immensely.
Butternut Squash has a beautiful color and taste.  It's a perfect thickening agent for soups.  It's a perfect substitute for pumpkin and sweet potatoes.  And it's rich in vitamins.  My problem it's almost too perfect a rich unique taste. 
I search for uses and recipes and I've had two in the last week.  One was my contribution to our church potluck - my mother-in-law's rich and sweet sweet potato souffle' - simply substitued squash and no one knew the difference. 
The second was another squash soup.  Granted it's not Louis Carroll's green soup, but pretty darn good.  The recipe was a take off from Olivia's Cookie Jar and Restaurant, Monmouth IL.  She serves this lovely squash apple soup.  Here's my take:
4 slices bacon, chopped fine and fried crisp (keep oil in pan and drain bacon bits on paper towel)
1 cup finely chopped celery and saute in bacon fat until tender
1 large clove garlic, chopped & mashed and lightly sauted in bacon fat, add:
4 cups cooked and pureed butternut squash, gently heat until hot (do not boil this soup) add:
1 pt. chunky applesauce, gently heat until hot and take off heat, add:
1/2 cup heavy cream, add:
1 cup buttermilk and stir to combine, add:
1/2 cup brown sugar  (this is used to balance out the sour of the buttermilk-adjust as needed), add:
1 tsp Cayanne pepper (adjust for your own taste but it's essential to the end result), add:
1 tsp. Kosher salt (takes quite a bit but adjust to taste), stir and reheat (DO NOT boil)
Add a dollop of sour cream to the top, sprinkle with a little brown sugar and broil until sugar bubbles.  (Can use hand torch)  If  you're not going to heat sugar, don't use as a garnish since it will be grainy tasting without being toasted.  Top with bacon bits and serve. 
Good served with large soft sourdough bread slices.
Oh yes, "Soup of the evening.  Beautiful soup."

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