Imagine you have signed up for a CSA (community supported agriculture) and they deliver a box of organic produce to you every week. Wonderful, right? Now imagine the box contains not one but two butternut squash (or squashes if you prefer. Oddly, either is correct. I looked it up). And then the following week, the box contains two more butternut squash. Now you have four butternut squash and to date the only time you have cooked with it you purchased the already diced squash in a bag from Trader Joe’s. What do you do?
I don’t know about you, but first I put them on the counter and stared at them for a while. A couple of weeks passed and the squash sat there making fun of me. I hate it when vegetables taunt me. So I did the only thing I could do: I searched for recipes until I found one that spoke to me: butternut squash risotto (on Simply Recipes). These squash are sturdy and I was unsure the best way to approach dismembering it, but luckily, Elise also provided a tutorial on how to peel and cut a butternut squash.
One thing I want to highlight about peeling and cutting a butternut squash: you need a sturdy peeler. Exhibit A…
That was a free peeler I got at one of the blogger conferences I attended. I think it is fixable, but I wonder if it would be worth it if it’s going to come apart like that? Luckily, I had my trusty Oxo peeler standing by to make short work of it…
That was my first risotto ever, it only used half of one butternut squash and gave me a blister from stirring, but it was delicious and satisfying. Not a bad first effort in the Butternut Battle of ’10. Take that you silly squash.
Still, that left 3 1/2 squash. I used part of the already peeled squash in a batch of Israeli couscous the other night to accompany lamb chops from the meat CSA (remind me to tell you about the meat CSA later…). So that left 3 1/4 squash. And then today I decided I would use up an entire butternut squash one way or another, gosh darn it. So I flipped through my cookbooks until I came across a roasted butternut squash soup from the Barefoot Contessa. Raven even approved…
My apartment smelled great all afternoon from the roasted squash, onions, and apple.
That still leaves me with a little more than 2 butternut squash, but after hacking my way through risotto, couscous, and a soup, those suckers don’t stand a chance.
(I don’t want to give the wrong impression about the CSA, I love it. It’s like Christmas every Wednesday morning when I open the box to see what’s inside. And it is making me a more well-rounded cook in the good way… not the way cookies can make you well-rounded. I’ve had to move beyond my comfort zone and cook new things, which can be frustrating sometimes when all I want is something familiar and easy but more often than not, I’m more satisfied by learning to cook something new… and it usually turns out to be not any more effort than the old stand-bys. Anyhow, since I’m not eating as many sweets at least for the duration of Ten in 10, you can expect to see more CSA inspired recipes popping up here).
One cautionary note about making pureed-vegetable soups: when you are blending hot foods and liquids do it in small batches and keep an eye on the lid… if it’s flexible rubber/plastic like mine it could expand from the heat and before you realize what has happened the middle stopper thing could fall in and get blended into your delicious cream of asparagus soup and you will want to cry because you are hungry and your lunch has bits of plastic pureed into it. Not that it’s happened to me or anything…
In all seriousness, do be careful. Or if you are worried about it, you can let things cool down before blending… or get an immersion blender and do it all in the pot without any pesky lid issues (I got one of those for Christmas but it is at Dan’s house so I used my jagged-top blender today).
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)
The curry in this recipe is pretty mild, so if you want more spice you might consider increasing it a bit. Also, I think it could benefit from thinning it down more with milk to add just a touch of creaminess to it (I’m planning to try that tomorrow so I’ll update you with my results).
Serves 4 to 6
3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 yellow onions (small to medium)
2 apples, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the butternut squash, onions, and apples into 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
- Divide the squash mixture between 2 sheet pans and spread in a single layer. Roast for 35 to 45 minutes, tossing occasionally and rotating pans from top to bottom rack.
- When the vegetables are very tender, purée them in small batches using a food processor, blender, immersion blender, or food mill — Add enough chicken stock to get a coarse purée. (Be very careful when blending hot foods.)
- When all of the vegetables are pureed, place in a large pot and add the rest of the chicken stock to make a thick soup. Add curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings to be sure there’s enough salt and pepper to bring out the curry flavor.
- Reheat and serve hot with condiments such as scallions (white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally), lightly toasted sweetened coconut, roasted salted cashews (toasted and chopped), and/or diced banana (I’m gonna take Ina’s word on the banana… I can’t bring myself to put banana on top of my soup).
More butternut squash recipes from around the web
- Sweet butternut squash and coconut jam from The Kitchn — they say it is really good with goat cheese. I love sweet things with goat cheese (like figs) so I can’t wait to try this.
- Savory bread pudding with butternut squash, chard, and cheddar cheese from A Veggie Venture
- Warm butternut and chickpea salad with tahini from Orangette