Friday, September 30, 2016

2 Butternut Squash Soups (and 3 winners!)

This is my lovely friend Katy's photo. It looks a little like a sculpture, and a little like a photo essay about how hard squash is to peel.
You guys are so lovely to want books. You made my week. And I truly feel like we're all winners, but okay, the winners are: Marika (How to Celebrate Everything), Cathy K (Commonwealth), and Cookiert (We Love You, Charlie Freeman). Please email me with your addresses, so I can send you BOOKS! And thank you so much for all your comments, which I read and loved.

Also, everyone, do us all a favor: reach out to 3 people this week who might not be registered to vote--or who might need an absentee ballot. Just ask, check.

Meanwhile, I come to find that neither of my butternut squash soup recipes are on this blog! WTF? So I'm posting both of them, right this second, because it's decorative gourd season, motherfuckers.

Happy weekend, Shabbat Shalom, I love you.


Butternut Bisque with Buttered Nuts
This is Birdy's all-time favorite soup, and we make it based on a recipe we saw magneted to the fridge at an AirBnB we were staying at. It is outrageously velvety and rich, and you could totally omit the pecans. Our friend Maddie makes a similar version that is also Birdy's all-time favorite soup.

1 large butternut squash, halved lengthwise, and the seeds removed with a spoon
Olive oil
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 onion, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups half and half
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on the sweetness of your squash)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 400. Halve the squash lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds and stringy gunk—a fun job for a kid who enjoys gutting pumpkins (and you can even roast the seeds if you like!). Now line a baking sheet with foil, grease it generously with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and roast the squash, cut sides down, for 45 minutes to an hour, until it is very soft and offers no backsass when you pierce it with the tip of a knife. (I do the squash this way so as to avoid needing to peel and chop it raw, a job I find drains me of all of my will to live.)

Meanwhile heat one tablespoon of the butter in a very small pan over medium-low heat and, when it foams, fry the pecans for 3 minutes until they are golden and smell toasty. Set them aside.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a soup pot over medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft and translucent, but not browned, around 10 minutes. Use a large spoon to scoop the flesh from the peel of the squash and add it to the soup pot along with the broth. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the soup, partially covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Puree the soup using a hand blender, or in batches, using great caution, in a blender or food processor. Stir in the half and half, then add nutmeg, maple syrup, salt, and pepper to taste and reheat very gently. Serve garnished with the nuts.

You know you can bake the squash seeds, right? Just like pumpkin seeds! And, just like pumpkin seeds, they will either be delicious or you will forget about them in the oven and they will be inedible.
Thai-style Butternut Squash Soup
This is my own favorite squash soup recipe, because I find that it makes the squash palatably ununctious, if you know what I mean. If you have red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves, by all means use them instead of the spices and lime zest—but this is a fairly decent approximation of Thai flavors using common pantry ingredients. There's no photo, but it looks like the soup above, you know, minus the nuts and cream. And with cilantro.

1 large butternut squash
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (by pi and 3/8)
1 shallot, finely diced (around 1 tablespoon) or an equivalent amount of diced onion
2 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 teaspoon each freshly grated ginger, freshly grated lime zest, paprika, and ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 ½  teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons lime juice
Fish sauce (optional)
Coarsely chopped cilantro (optional)

Heat the oven to 400. Halve the squash lengthwise and scrape out all the seeds and stringy gunk—a fun job for a kid who enjoys gutting pumpkins (and you can even roast the seeds if you like!). Now line a baking sheet with foil, grease it generously with 1 tablespoon of the oil, and roast the squash, cut sides down, for 45 minutes to an hour, until it is very soft and offers no backsass when you pierce it with the tip of a knife. (I do the squash this way so as to avoid needing to peel and chop it raw, a job I find drains me of all of my will to live.)

Meanwhile, chop and grate and measure everything else, then heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a wide soup pot over medium-low heat until it shimmers. Add the shallot, garlic, ginger, zest, paprika, coriander, and cayenne, and stir briskly for 30 seconds or so until it’s sizzling and fragrant, then add the salt, sugar, broth, and coconut milk, and bring it all to a simmer. If the squash still isn’t ready, then cover the broth mixture and turn the heat off for now if the squash is still cooking—otherwise, add the squash at this point (first you’ll need to remove the skin, either by peeling it off or scraping the squash out of it, depending on which way seems easier), and simmer it all for 15 minutes. Puree the soup with a hand blender (you could also do this in batches in a blender or food processor, but do take great care not to burn yourself or send an orange geyser skywards), then stir in the lime juice and, if you’re using it, a dash or two of fish sauce. Taste the soup: it should be lively—a mix of sweet, tart, and salty—so add more lime juice, salt, or sugar, as required. Garnish bowls with cilantro and serve.

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous12:45 AM

    Thanks for the soups and the urgent urging to register (yes, doing what I can) and - your Santa Cruz book reading is during the second debate, no? Ack. I'm trying to figure out if I can come to that or to the SF event, given that I have a new baby (yes, just for fun - a 3 mo. old) and oh so much going on. But I owe you marmalade and I'd just so love to say hello & thankyouthankyou in person... Wanna come to Palo Alto? (: ~ kelda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kelda! a new baby. dying. i'd love to see you, but know that if you don't come, i will love that you even thought about it. xo

      Delete
  2. I've been thinking of you because I'm listening to your latest book on Audible in the mornings on the way to work. Love that you read it and love your writing. Glad to see some new book recommendations in the last few posts. The casserole looks yum, too. That we both have eighth graders-crazy. And I'll leave you with my best read book of late: Sweetbitter. The love story tore me up, for some reason, but I got really into it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, thank you, Tia! You're right to recommend Sweetbitter to me. I read it over the summer and loved it. xo

      Delete
  3. OK, I didn't see the mention of the California readings until now, and I have only one thing to say... COME TO L.A., TOO!!!!!!!!! We are really just as nice (in our own way) as the lovely Bay Area folks, and we have good bookstores, too. Please, please, please, please, please, you are so close (relatively speaking) when you are coming all the way from the East Coast. We have lots of tasty and interesting restaurants, great museums, beaches, come, come, come to L.A! (OK, I'm done.)

    -Loren

    ReplyDelete
  4. miryboo8:25 AM

    I missed the giveaway because we were camping in the Smokies. The enchilada casserole is so yummy! Google tells me it's your birthday- Happy Birthday!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous9:38 AM

    I'm so excited I won Commonwealth! I'm going to email you my address from our home computer tonight. Yippee! --Cathy K

    ReplyDelete
  6. That shit is so festive. No, but those recipes really do look good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So I feel weird commenting after the person ahead of me...but anyway. Please, make me this soup (both of them) and ship them to my house. I am a terrible cook and my family would hate them but they sound so incredible and amazing and I'm sad that I'll never actually have the fortitude to make them just for myself. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  8. So I feel weird commenting after the person ahead of me...but anyway. Please, make me this soup (both of them) and ship them to my house. I am a terrible cook and my family would hate them but they sound so incredible and amazing and I'm sad that I'll never actually have the fortitude to make them just for myself. Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I made the first soup for a bunch of old work friends and everyone loved it! So rich and satisfying!

    ReplyDelete