Thursday, October 6, 2011

A recipe for you on this blustery day

A little disclaimer: Unless I'm baking, I really don't measure out ingredients. I prefer pinches and dollops and palm-fulls. And I often cook based on ratios (half as much salt as sugar, etc.). I think the most important measuring tool in the kitchen is your taste buds. I taste often as I go and adjust accordingly. I've found that the more I practice cooking, the better I become at accurately adjusting an in-process meal based on taste. I can now ascertain if something needs more salt, sugar, spice, or vinegar/acid. Have you found the same to be true, or do you prefer to follow a faithful recipe?

With that in mind, here's an easy, seasonal, flavorful recipe for butternut squash soup. Many recipes call for roasting the squash, which you may certainly do, but I like the fresher, simpler taste of it when not cooked too much. This also makes for the most beautiful bright orange colored soup! I make a big pot and freeze the extra in jars. This will feed 4-6 people, but you can easily double it.

Ingredients: 
1 large or a few smaller butternut squash (you want about 3 pounds worth)
1 fat leek (or 2-3 skinny ones), sliced
3 Cups water
3 Cups milk (whole milk is best)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste
About 1/2 Cup heavy cream to garnish

Method:
1. Peel the squash (not an easy feat when the squash isn't roasted, I know!)
2. Remove the seeds and any stringy parts
3. Cut into large chunks
4. Add to a large pot, along with the leeks, water, milk, and a generous amount of salt (i.e. a small palmful)
5. Bring to a boil
6. Lower the heat and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the squash is tender enough to mash with a fork
7. Puree the soup in a blender until smooth
8. Finish with salt, pepper, and nutmeg
9. Taste. If it tastes bland, you likely need to add more salt
10. Add a drizzle of heavy cream and some more grated nutmeg if desired (I like a lot of nutmeg!) to each bowlful. Enjoy!

5 comments:

  1. I love that bright orange color of butternut squash soup (it is a household favorite!) So delightful and really seems to match a fall day.

    As to recipes and measuring: I can remember sort of detesting people that didn't measure. Matt (who taught me to cook 4 or 5 years ago) is that sort of cook. Little of this, little of that, taste, little more of this and voila! That was beyond my comprehension. It was frustrating too.

    However, I realized at one point this year that I easily "make up" as many meals as I follow a recipe for these days. I never thought I'd see the day! But, I too measure just about everything for baking.

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  2. So nice to meet you, and thanks for sharing your experience! One glaring problem with not measuring is that it is sometimes hard for me to replicate a dish that turned out well the first time ;) Cooking is very much a learning process, though, isn't it?

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  3. Sounds wonderful and perfect for the chilly nights that are now going to be visiting us here in Colordao. I am planning a Butternut Soap for this week too.

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  4. That IS the biggest problem with that style of cooking. It never turns out quite the same....

    Oh well, no matter as long as it is still yummy.

    I just recently found your blog, but already enjoy it very much.

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  5. Thank you so much! Very glad you're here.

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