Sometimes having a blogging partner can be frustrating for the creative cook/blogger. Just last week, Meg posted a great recipe for Spicy Squash Soup, and roasted some sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds, just as I came home with a big bag of winter squash from the farmers' market.
Well, dang. Great minds think alike and all that, but I guess that means I won't be posting that sunflower seed roasting experience I had. What can I do with the squash I have that's a little different from what she's done?
I've still got plenty of squash left, so I'll have some more answers to that question in the coming weeks. Last night, however, I decided to a butternut squash soup that went in a different direction from Meg's excellent spicy squash soup. Instead of spice, I decided to make a non-spicy, savory soup with a velvety texture and a sweet touch.
The soup is savory, with the sage in the actual soup providing just a hint of flavor, and the fried sage leaves on top taking the place of crunchy savory croutons. I served this to my wife and her training partner (and our friend) last night and it was very well received.
The fresh sage came from a plant we grew on our back porch this sumemr that's migrated indoors for the fall and winter. It's doing very well, but I liked this soup enough that I may have to assault it again. If it doesn't make it through the winter, I'm blaming the cats.
Maybe having a blogging partner is a good thing, after all. Without her recipe, I probably wouldn't have been forced to invent a new soup recipe. Thanks, Meg.
One warning, all the measures below are approximate as this was produced as a "jazz soup", improvised around a theme. If you taste the soup and think it needs a little more sage or a little less honey, please adjust to taste. I certainly did.
This recipe makes eight bowls of soup. Make a big batch and save it for lunch
Butternut Squash Soup with Sage
1 butternut squash
2 granny smith apples
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 quarts vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 big white onion or one medium white onion
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teapsoon white pepper
1 teaspoon powdered ginger or 2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour (optional)
20-40 fresh sage leaves, divided
olive oil for frying sage
Peel, seed, and dice the squash into approximately 1" cubes. I usually cut the neck of the squash from the bowl and peel it separately, before cutting it into 1" rounds and cutting those into cubes. Scoop out the seeds and strings from the bottom bowl of the squash and cut it into 1" pieces. You don't have to be ultra-precise since we'll be blending the soup.
Peel, core and cut the apples into approx. 1" cubes. Put the apple and butternut squash into a big stockpot with the stock. Dice the onion and add it to the pot.
Add the cumin, pepper, brown sugar, and 1/2 the sage. You don't need to mince the sage.
Add the apple cider and stir well over high heat. Once it's boiled, reduce to a simmer and let it cook until the butternut squash is very soft - about 40 minutes.
Blend the soup in a blender or with an immersion stick blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Add the half and half and butter and stir. If you feel the soup is not thick enough, take a cup or so of the soup out and whisk it together with the flour until the flour is absorbed. You must use a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Return the soup/flour mix to the pot and stir well. Simmer a few minutes longer, and the soup will thicken up.
Coat the bottom of your smallest frypan or saucepan with olive oil. Heat until the oil shimmers. A few at a time, drop the remianign sage leaves into the oil and fry for 10-15 seconds. Take them out with a slotted spoon or spatula, and drain them on paper towels. Hit the leaves with a very light sprinkle of salt while the leaves are hot.
Serve the soup with a few fried sage leaves on top.