Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Squash and Buttermilk Soup

Tonight we had a lovely gathering at the Byway with a few friends, which we'd coordinated at our volleyball game on Tuesday. We had a couple of soups, buttermilk biscuits, and many desserts. My contribution was a vegetarian squash soup (to go with Manny's meaty vegetable soup). There are as many ways to make squash soup as there are, uh...other numerous things. So these are just guidelines (as usual). If I hadn't been making it for a crowd I probably would have made it roaringly spicy, but as it was it got good reviews:
  • 1 big winter squash (mine was mysterious lumpy green one)
  • 1 large onion, chopped finely
  • 3 carrots, chopped finely
  • 2 red peppers (roasted or not), sliced into thin, 1" strips
  • 1 qt. good vegetable (or otherwise) broth
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • olive oil
  • black pepper
  • nutmeg
  • ground chipotle or cayenne
  • salt
  • minced chives to garnish
Cook the squash however you like--I cut mine into quarters and seeded it, brushed it with olive oil, and baked it for an hour at 400. Scoop it out. In a heavy pot, sautee your onions and carrots in the butter until they start to get caramelized. Add the pepper strips and cook for 2 more minutes. Add the squash mush and broth, adding water if it's too thick (it will thicken up more later, too), and simmer for 30 min. Puree the soup to your desired texture using whatever equipment you have available--I used a potato ricer (RIP immersible blender). Add your seasonings and simmer 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let cool for a couple of minutes, then stir in the buttermilk and chives. When reheating, do not boil, since you'll curdle it.

Like I said, you could do just about anything with the seasonings, including making it extra spicy, gingery, curry flavored, rosemary--whatever. I'd also been thinking of keeping it thick and pouring it over gnocchi, but that was just too much to do on a weeknight. Also, using a good broth helps--I used "Better than Boullion Vegetable", which has a lot of roasted carrots in it, so it went well together (but look out for the high salt content). You could substitute any other dairy for the buttermilk, and adjust the acidity with vinegar.

Also, I made my concord pie again, this time as a crumble, with a shortbread crust and streusel topping. I'm happier with the pie, since it allows the grapes to speak for themselves more (so I won't include the crumble recipe). The fun part of this dish is it dyes your dinner guests' teeth blue! Just remember not to take photos after you eat ;)

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