Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Butternut Squash Bisque: From the Field to the Table

Soup on a snow day!

Since I had an unexpected day off today, I was in the mood to cook, and since there were 6 inches of snow on the ground, to cook from food I had on hand.  Winter squash proved to be just the thing!  I chose a butternut squash and an acorn squash from my stash, and got to work.

These different varieties of squash have lived in my pantry since late October.  Luckily, we keep the house rather cool, and they're out of the sun, along with the potatoes and onions (though that didn't keep the potatoes from sprouting eyes, as you can see from my previous post!).  I either grew them or bought them from the Amish stand near my mother's home in the Kutztown area. They're all still perfectly fine; not a soft spot on any of them.

 I began by peeling the butternut squash with a carrot peeler, which was simple and efficient.

Just look at that bright, moist flesh!

I didn't think there would be so much good  flesh in one little squash! The recipe called for 4 cups of cubed squash; I had at least 5, so I put back the acorn squash for another day.

I've been using Amish roll butter lately, since it's fresh and local. And oh, so good!  I diced a cup or so of sweet onion and a cup or so of local, organic carrots.  The onions went into my Dutch oven with a tablespoon of butter to saute until soft; then I added the carrots and squash, some chicken stock (the recipe calls for vegetable stock, but I only had chicken), and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

I shave my own nutmeg.  It just tastes better.  And the "nut" has pretty patterns inside.

It simmered for about a half hour while I took a shower and made some bread pudding.  I just love stale bread!  But that's a story for another day. When the vegetables were all soft, I let it cool, then pureed the whole beautiful mess in my food processor.  I added a half-cup of buttermilk to the processor (fresh from the farm) instead of cream, 'cause that's the way we roll around here.  I returned the rich, creamy, orange puree to the Dutch oven, then I heated it gently...not to a boil, and ladled it into two bowls. The final touch was a tablespoon of buttermilk dropped into the center of each bowl and fanned out with the tip of a knife just before serving.  Voila!

Now that's a healthy, warming meal for a snowy day!  Fresh from the field to my table.  Thank you, Mother Nature!  And thanks for the snow day today!
You can find the recipe that inspired this soup right here.

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