I'm not much of a writer, but I am a passable home cook, or at least I like to think so. Hopefully, if anyone else actually reads this blog they will look past my clumsy writing skills and focus on the food instead. Although, I should warn any potential readers- I may not prove to be much of a recipe creator either. Normally when I am in the kitchen I don't pay to much attention to quantities, amounts, etc. We'll just have to see how it goes.
I love to cook, for a lot of reasons. I love the creative outlet, taking individual items and putting them together to create something more. I love the feeling of seeing others enjoy something that I took time and care to make. But most of all, I love how when I am cooking I am in complete control of what's going on. I know, no matter what, that when I add A to B I will get C, without fail. With all the uncertainty swirling around life, the kitchen is my haven. When there's chaos, I retreat to my stove top & oven. I make bread, or soup, rack of lamb or a cake, because within the steps of a recipe I find order, peace and security.
My baby brother, Adam, is moving to New York City. He leaves tomorrow morning. Minus the 4 years I was away at college, we have never lived more than 20 minutes apart. That's over 30 years of having my brother within a few minutes reach. Like every brother & sister since the beginning of time, we haven't always gotten along, but I have always loved him, and always will. Even when I want to kill him, I've always known he was right down the road when I need him. I hope he feels the same about me. He is moving to New York to start an exciting new chapter in his life. He's getting married to a great girl, who I really like, and I couldn't be happier for them. That being said, to say that I am a wreck over his leaving is quite an understatement. I haven't been able to stop crying since Friday evening when we got together for one last dinner. My turmoil has been a boon for my husband though, since I've pretty much spent the last 2 days in the kitchen, keeping my mind off my brother's leaving.
It's been raining all weekend, the weather practically demanding I make soup. Yesterday morning I stopped at my local produce stand (Dan's Fresh Produce for those of you in the Bay Area. Check it out- Dan & his stand are awesome!) and the squash bins were overflowing. There is nothing I love more than squash soup. Making a giant pot would be just the thing to keep my mind off Adam's imminent departure. Did I mention my brother is a professional chef? Well he is, the real deal, with the tall white toque, an impressive resume and everything. He's created some of the most memorable dishes I have ever eaten, and he's taught me almost everything I know about navigating my way around a recipe and a kitchen. Making a delicious soup seems like the perfect tribute to him. So without further ado, onto my recipe...
Roasted Squash Soup
1 medium size Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1" cubes
1 medium size Acorn Squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1" cubes
1 medium size Buttercup Squash, peeled, seeded & cut into 1" cubes
1 large Yam (or Sweet Potato), peeled & cut into 1" cubes
4 Tbsp dried Thyme
1/4 c butter
2 apples, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped*
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Bunch of fresh sage leaves, chopped fine
Salt & Pepper
8 to 10 cups chicken broth
Blue Cheese crumbles (optional)
* I used 1 Golden Delicious & 1 Fuji apple
- Roast the Squash. Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a large bowl toss the squash cubes with some olive oil, the thyme, salt, pepper & a little chili powder. Spread the seasoned squash in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper (cause it makes clean-up way easy). Roast squash for at least an hour, stirring the squash halfway through cooking. When squash is done transfer back to a large mixing bowl.
- Sauté the Onions, Celery & Apples. In a large skillet or soup pot melt 1/2 stick of butter over medium heat. Add the celery, onions & garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions & celery start to soften. Stir in the apples & sage and season with salt & pepper. Continue cooking over medium to medium low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are nicely softened.
- Mix Everything Together & Blend. Transfer the onion, celery, apple, sage mixture to the same large bowl with the roasted squash and stir all the ingredients together. Working in batches, puree the mixture in a blender, adding chicken stock to the blender for each batch (enough to cover however much of the squash mixture you put in your blender). Pour pureed soup batches into a large soup pot.
- Heat up & Thin out. Once all the soup has been pureed and added to the soup pot, heat up the soup over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add more chicken broth until the soup reaches the consistency you like.
- Serve! Serve soup hot with a little bit of blue cheese crumbled on top.
So that's it for my first blog post & first shared recipe. I swear most of the things I make aren't this time consuming, or require so many steps, or so many pots, pans, appliances & bowls. But just like my relationship with my brother, this soup takes time and little work, but is well worth it in the end. I hope you enjoy. If you try out my recipe and it works, let me know. If it doesn't work- let me know that too.