I had been starring a bunch of squash soups, like Sunita's Roasted Butternut Squash, Peppers and Leek Soup, Alosha's Winter Squash Soup with Gruyere Croutons (I still plan to try the croutons), Recipe Girl's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Apples & Garam Masala. All of them look terrific and am adding links to them here for both your reference and mine.
In the end, I decided to go with a recipe posted by Zen Chef at Chefs Gone Wild. Originally from France, Zen Chef works in New York as a personal chef for some rich dude. Reading his blog, you get to live vicariously through the him while he shows you the kitchen side of a home in the Hamptons.
Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Apple Compote
For the soup:
2 small butternut squash (1 1/2 lb each), skin removed, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely sliced
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
Salt and pepper
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
4 cups chicken stock
This is my first (maybe second) time cooking with squash. So, I wasn't sure exactly how to work with it. I peeled it:
And cored it:
And then cut it into cubes. In a large stockpot, melt the butter and add the onions. Cook until tender but not coloured, about 10 minutes.
Add the curry powder, ginger and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add the squash, season with salt and pepper and saute for for 1 or 2 minutes.
Stir in the coconut milk and chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (Clearly even sized cubes are not my forte...My knife sucks).
Cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
For the apple compote:
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 vanilla bean, seeds only
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup apple cider
While the soup is simmering, toast the coriander seeds and cumin in a small pan, until fragrant - about 2 minutes. Finely grind in a spice grinder. Cook the butter in a small saucepan until golden brown and add the apples and the vanilla seeds and cook until caramelized.
Add the apple cider and cook until evaporated. Add the spices to the apples and puree in a food processor until smooth.
Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with the spiced apple compote and a little scoop of sour cream.
Verdict: The soup was quite good. Between the compote and the soup itself, it felt there was a party going on in my mouth and all of Autumn was invited. If I were to make this soup again, I would probably use less than a full tablespoon of Madras curry powder. That stuff is potent. Even when I put the curry into the pot, it was so strong, the smell made me cough. Certainly the compote and sour cream balance this out. Mind you, judging from the colour of my compote, I probably over-cooked it. But it was still enjoyable.
I served 3 bowls of it (we had a guest for dinner) and still had about 5-6 portions left over. I put a large portion of the leftovers in the freezer. The rest, I kept in the fridge and "repurposed" for dinner a couple of nights later.
This time, I borrowed from one of my favourite blogs, A Good Appetite. Kat made a Cream of Tomato Soup in Puff Pastry. I borrowed the puff pastry portion and made my soup into a Butternut Squash in Puff Pastry.
Kat's recipe for this is:
Preheat oven to 450 F. Roll out your pastry dough to 1/4-inch thick. Cut out 4 circles slightly larger than you serving bowls or ramekins. Divide the soup between the four bowls. In a small bowl beat the egg. Brush the beaten egg on the pastry circles. Place the pastry, egg side down, on each bowl pulling a little to make it taut. Gently brush the top of the pastry with more egg being careful not to push it into the soup. Place the bowls on a baking sheet & then into the oven. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes until the pastry is puffed & golden (don't open your oven too early or the pastry might fall.)
The end product was really good.
It's kind of an interactive soup because you can break apart the puff pastry as desired. Maybe it's the kid in me, but I really like a bit of interaction with my food while eating it.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our neighbours to the south!!!