Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with a Manchego Crostini

It's been a while since I've posted but I've been working on blog improvements.  I hope you like the new look.  It would not have been possible without the help of an excellent blog designer - Carrie.  She was wonderful and I highly recommend her.  Check out her site:   So, for my first recipe back, I thought I would post something that will warm you up.  It's been so cold!  There is nothing like homemade soup and this one is probably my favorite in the winter time.  It's perfect on a cold night and the flavor combinations work so well together.  It's savory with a touch of sweetness.  The cayenne pepper and ginger gives it a subtle kick and the best part about this recipe is that it's vegan.  In the picture there is a sour cream garnish and cheese on the crostini but it's not necessary, and you can really use whatever  you like.  If you eat cheese, any kind will work here, but I love Manchego.  Manchego is a sheep's milk cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain (central but south of Madrid).  It's buttery, creamy flavor works well with the subtle sweetness of the soup and it has a fairly mild flavor.  I made this soup on Thanksgiving and it was a big hit.  Typically for the garnish, I use paprika, sour cream, fresh sage and pomegranates.  Other options that would work are blue cheese, apples, or flat leaf parsley.  It's a great starter or it can be a meal on it's own.  It's very easy to make and you can store it in the freezer up to three months, so you can have soup on the ready when it gets really cold in January and February.  My kids are just starting to try soup.  My daughter enjoys this more than my son, but I'll just keep putting it in front of them ;)  One day they'll eat it up!      

Butternut Squash peeled and ready to chop after the seeds are scraped out.

For this recipe I use 8-10 cups.

Lots of spices…paprika, sage, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, and nutmeg.

Pomegranates are one of my favorite fruits.  They are perfect in so many things. 

La Recette:

10 cups Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds scraped and roughly cubed (8-10 cups will work well)
1 medium red onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 medium apples, peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 - 2 inch piece of ginger peeled and roughly chopped
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)

Garnish - 
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup sour cream
1/3 cup manchego, shreaded
1 gluten free baguette, sliced thinly - I love Schär
Sprinkle of paprika 

Directions -
-Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
-Line a standard sized cookie sheet with aluminum foil making sure it is completely covered.  Place the squash, onion, apples, garlic, ginger, shallot, salt, pepper and two tablespoons of olive oil onto the lined cookie sheet and give it a good mix.  As the Barefoot Contessa says - clean hands work best.
-Roast the veggies for 40-45 minutes.  Giving it a stir halfway through.    
-Put the veggies in a blender or food processor.  You might have to work in batches depending on the size of your appliance.  With the motor running add in 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (split it up if you are working in batches).  Make sure that the mixture is completely smooth.  If you are working with a blender, make sure you keep a tight hand on the top.  Substances expand when heated and it can splatter and burn.  This part should take 2-3 minutes.  
-Put the puréed veggies in a medium sized sauce pot and slowly stir in the 4 cups of vegetable stock.
-Add in all of the spices and mix until completely incorporated.
-Let the soup simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes.  Garnish with the ingredients listed here or choose some of your own. -This recipe serves about 8-10 adults.  
-I divide the garnish between servings.  
*For the baguette, cut thin slices on the bias.  Rub each piece with a drizzle of olive oil and toast in the oven or toaster oven until just slightly brown.  Remove and sprinkle each piece with a little cheese.  Toast again for 2-3 minutes until golden and bubbly.  Enjoy!   

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