Thursday, March 3, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

Damn it's been a while since you've heard from BLT. I'd like to say we've been busy making sandwiches, but that wouldn't really be true.

I haven't provided you as many menu ideas lately, and there's plenty backlogged that need to get out- you can't post this recipe in June, that wouldn't be proper, now would it? This soup will warm your soul on one of those cold, rainy March or April nights- you know those weeks where it's sunny and 63F one day and 39F, rainy and windy two days later.

Breaking down a squash with little effort is a learned task. Even if you have one of these peelers, that method is a beeyatch. After my second attempt, which resembled something akin to a monkey and a football, I think I've got a good approach- cut off the skinny top, then use a cleaver or your chef knife and cut in half lengthwise. Use an ice cream scoop or a spoon to remove the seeds and stringy crap. Then slice in half again so you have quarters. Using a long bread knife, remove the outer part like slicing a melon, slowly. Then you can happily dice away.

Butternut Squash Soup
4 main servings

4 slices bacon, slab preferred
1 large onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 large (2-2 1/2 lb) butternut squash, diced
1.5 TB flour
1/2 C lager beer
32 oz chicken stock, homemade definitely preferred
truffle oil (optional)

In a heavy cast iron dutch oven, or similar, begin rendering the fat from the bacon slices over medium heat. Remove strips when crispy and then set aside. Add the carrot, onion and celery to the pot and saute for a couple minutes. Season with a pinch of thyme and black pepper. Add the squash and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 13-16 minutes longer. Deglaze the pot with a bit of beer, then sprinkle in a spoonful of flour. Stir for 30 seconds to coat the veg and slightly cook the flour, then add the chicken stock. You could use veggie stock too. Turn down the heat to medium low and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, keep on a bare simmer. That's a slimmer. Hit it with the immersion blender or heaven forbid process in batches in your blender, then season with thyme and S&P to taste. If you like to be fancy you could strain through cheesecloth.

Garnish with crumbled bits of bacon and thyme. If you have truffle oil, a few drops goes a long, tasty way.

For a super tasty meal, serve with a grilled cheddar sammich. Guess there has been some sandwich making after all.

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