Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Rainy Days & Butternut Squash

I woke up to gray.  Not marine layer gray, which always feels like a billowy curtain ready to break up at any moment, but a deeper, heavier gray.  The gray that makes you want to stay home in a hoodie and socks and watch movies and drink tea. We just had a heat wave, what was this??  Summer really never arrived, much to my chagrin, and the oven blasting type of heat we'd been having the past week had set my spirits on such a what the eff was this?  And then it rained.  And I'm not talking the normal sprinkle we usually get - which sends all of us running for cover, a laughable action to most other climates - this was RAIN.  Rain that would make even a Seattle native pull out an umbrella, and they never do that.  So from elevating heat, to dark and stormy seas, the kitchen had to make a change...

I must capitalize on this soup weather.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons for one reason - squash.  When I start seeing squash at the market I get excited for fall.  Granted, I'm usually still in shorts and sandals, but there's a chill in the air!  I can eat squash any way but this (in my opinion) the most delicious, simple dish there is.  Butternut squash has such great no-fuss flavor, and you can make this dish in a flash.  There's something about warm soup that is very comforting to me, and during the cold months - well cold for coastal California - I eat soup most days of the week.  Another thing I love about this is the ingredient list:  butternut squash, onion, salt, pepper, chicken broth.  A few simple, wholesome items can make a big bowl of comfort on a chilly night.

Peel the butternut squash and cube it, removing the seeds.  Put the squash cubes, 1 large diced yellow onion, a little olive oil or butter, and a couple tbs of the chicken stock in a pan and simmer.  Let everything get soft, and the onions get sweet.  Transfer to a food processor or blender* and pulse while adding chicken stock until you get your desired texture.  My favorite garnishes are crumbled turkey bacon and green onions. I also like my soup pretty hot, so I usually put it back in the pot to simmer for a bit.

*if using a blender you may have to batch it, and be careful as the steam can cause the top to pop off and that will equal a major mess

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