This month’s Guest Test Kitchen comes from our new friend, Ellen. We’re so grateful for Ellen. Whether it’s a biology lab party at her university or a mini get-together with friends, she always makes a dish from our blog, and each time she excitedly shares the experience with us. It’s awesome to have a friend who is also a genuine fan, and loves to play with our recipes. Ellen, like the rest of us, loves all things food. We’re happy to share some of hers with you. Take it away!
I recently joined an awesome CSA (Garden of Eden Organics). Now I have a ton of fresh fruits and vegetables to cook with each week. It has definitely been a fun challenge to find new recipes that incorporate all the food so they don’t go to waste. For the past two weeks there were butternut squash in our share, so I figured I would try to make a soup. Plus, one of the kitchen toys I received for Christmas was a hand blender which I had yet to put to any use. Lucky for me, I come from a family of “foodies”, so I just emailed my mom for a butternut squash recipe. She sent me two recipes; one that that she had seen on America’s Test Kitchen and another recipe that she uses, so I just sort of combined the two.
Since I had two squash, I doubled the recipe which ended up making about eight servings, but the recipe can very easily can be scaled up or down. This was my first time making this recipe and since I don’t have a mesh sieve on hand, I had to quickly sew a pouch-of-sorts together in order to strain the shallot, seed and pulp. Lucky for me, I had some fabric on hand just for the task. Note to self: Invest in a wire sieve. The cinnamon sugar croutons definitely added a little pizazz to the dish.
Butternut Squash Soup with Cinnamon Sugar Croutons – Serves 4
1 Butternut squash, halved (save the seeds and pulp)
1/2 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and quartered
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
2 tablespoons honey (optional)
3 cups water
Salt and pepper
2 slices white bread
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1. In a Dutch oven, sauté the chopped shallots. To that, add the seeds and pulp from the inside of the squash. Cook this for about 10 minutes on medium-low heat. (This is where all of the flavor will come from.)
2. Meanwhile, cut the squash into eight pieces. Add about the water to the Dutch oven with the seed/pulp/shallot mixture. Lay the pieces of squash flesh side down in the Dutch oven. (I used a steamer insert, but it seemed to be taking a really long time, so in the end I took most of the pieces out of the steamer and cooked them directly in the liquid.) Cover pot and let squash cook for about 30-35 minutes or until tender.
3. Remove the squash pieces from the pot and allow to cool until you can handle them. Scrape the squash flesh into a separate bowl.
4. Strain the shallot, seed and pulp through a fine mesh sieve. Purée the liquid and squash in batches in a blender. (Or if you have a sweet stick blender return the strained liquid and squash to a cleaned Dutch oven and blend.)
5. When it is all smooth and creamy, heat over low/medium heat but do not boil. Add honey and cream and warm through. Season with salt and pepper.
6. For the croutons, cube the bread. Toss with the melted butter. Toast in oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve on top of warm soup.
Click HERE for the printable recipe.