I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a stress free Black Friday. For our part, we relaxed, watched the NYC Thanksgiving Parade (and official arrival of Santa Claus) from the safety of Grandma's house before heading out to the food coma inducing, turkey carving, sweet tooth paradise and family gathering meal.
What made this year's different and slightly more stressful than the last few chaotic gatherings is Wolfman and I were expected to bring some kind of contribution to the meal. We, I thought long and hard about this and because of cooking skills are, well, average on my best day, I went with something I new: SQUASH SOUP.
I love squash soup, it's the best thing to eat at this time of year. However, my ever so kind husband pointed out that my soups, although always delicious and his absolute favorite thing, may be considered a bit bland by the rest of humanity. BLAND! How dare he. (Obviously he is right, I haven't the faintest idea of what to do with spices but I'll never admit, to him at least.) After getting over my husband's betrayal, I set out in search for a recipe.
Being the Last Minute Queen, I found the recipe in the free "Eat Healthy Your Way" magazine produced for the Commissary, the military grocery store. You can access lots of great recipe's online at Eathealthyyourway.net. I found it while flipping through it searching for addition discounts while waiting at the deli counter. Boy was I happy! Not only did it sound good, but I could pick up the ingredients as I went along.
2 lbs butternut or acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 2" chuncks
2 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 large leek, pale green and white parts only
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
4 cups of vegetable broth
2/3 cup crumbed blue cheese
1 tbsp sliced fresh chives
1 hand held blender
1 large rimmed baking sheet
1 large cooking pot
Chopping knives and preferred tools for stirring soup ( I like wooden spoons)
How to: The key to roasting your vegetables is to cut them into equal-sized pieces. This allows them to cook at the same rate so you don't end up with a mix of burnt and undercooked pieces. (You live and you learn, sigh.) I started by chopping up the squash, I used a butternut and an acorn squash because I had two small ones at home. Once that is done, preheat your oven to 400F. Why wait? Cutting squash is a long process and the oven doesn't take that long to heat. So, while the oven is heating, quickly cut up pears, tomatoes, leek, garlic and combine them with the squash. Toss around in a large bowl with oil, 1/4tsp of salt and pepper. Spread your good looking mix onto a baking sheet and pop into the oven for about 45 minutes.
A word of advice: If you don't already own one, buy a cooking timer. I recently purchased one and it had significantly reduced the burnt supper syndrome that plagues our house.
Once the timer rings, let it cool while you prepare your vegetable broth. This process usually required you to boil water, add a broth cube and stir until it dissolves. Combine half the vegetables with 2 cups of broth and blend. Add the rest of the veggies and another 2 cups of broth and blend. The recipe suggests using a blender but I don't have one. The hand held worked just fine. Add the remaining 1/4 tsp of salt (which I totally forgot and nobody seemed to notice) and cook for about 10 minutes. Divide into bowls and garnish with cheese and scallions.
Voilà! An easy to prepare, great tasting Thanksgiving Soup.
It was a hit with the whole family. Let me know what you think and what personal spin you gave to the recipe.
To sum it up:
1- Peel, seed and cut squash into 2 inch chunks
2- Preheat oven to 400F
3- Combine pears, squash, tomatoes, leek, garlic, oil, 1/4tsp salt and pepper in a large bowl and toss to coat.
4- Spread on baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes.
5- Combine the roasted vegetables and broth in a large pot and blend.
6- Cook for 10 minutes.
7- Divide into bowls and garnish with cheese and scallions.
Before you go, how do you serve spaghetti squash? You've never tried? Tune in next week to find out!