Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash is in season and we’re excited to bring it back into rotation in our kitchen. This year we kick things off with a soup made from a purée of this versatile, sweet, nutty, autumn fruit. The squash is easy enough to prepare, requiring little more than cutting, scooping seeds, and cooking (boil or bake). We love how easy butternut squash is to prepare. Never mind that it’s full of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and lots of antioxidants and micronutrients.

Butternut squash is so full of rich flavor that it doesn’t require much embellishment to make a delicious soup. We like to roast it first to caramelize the sugars a bit. The roasted squash is then ready to be eaten as is, blended with roasted onions into stock, and then seasoned with salt and pepper. If you like to experiment with flavors, you can always add herbs and spices to the base soup. Sweet spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and clove are classic American holiday flavors. If you’re looking for something a little different, butternut squash, like pumpkin, loves curry. Or make it more Mediterranean by stirring in a little basil pesto. Believe us, the soup can take it.

We enrich this iteration of butternut squash soup with sweet unsalted butter, a dollop of sour cream, and a drizzle of sage scented olive oil. Toasted pumpkin seeds, fried sage leaves, and a dash of Tabasco add gild to the proverbial lily, but the hearty squash makes for a perfect backdrop to rich flavors. With a fistful of warm, crusty bread, a hot bowl of this butternut squash soup leaves you full and happy!

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Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash
1 medium onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cups broth, chicken or veggie
salt and pepper
soy sauce
4-6 tablespoons butter

Special equipment: immersion blender or upright blender

Preheat oven to 450 degree. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

Trim the ends off of the butternut squash and cut vertically in half splitting the firm flesh into two rounds pieces – the stem end and the seeded end. Stand each of those halfs on end and cut vertically in half. Spoon out the seeds. Set the butternut squash on the baking sheet, cut-side down.

Peel and quarter the onion and place it on the baking sheet. Drizzle about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the flesh of the squash and the quartered onion.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes. Turn the onion pieces over and continue to roast for another 10-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender and the cut flesh is slightly toasted and there’s a slight char on the onion. Remove from the oven and cool until the squash can be easily handled, 15-30 minutes.

Warm the broth in a large pot.

Once the onions and butternut squash are cool enough to handle, peel the squash using a knife. Some of the flesh may stick, and it’s OK. A little skin in the soup is easy enough to blend. Add the onions and the squash to the broth. Add a good pinch of salt and pepper.

Using the immersion blender, blend squash, onions, and broth, until you get a smooth purée. Once smooth, season to taste with salt, pepper, and a little soy sauce.

With the immersion blender running, add one tablespoon of the softened butter at a time until each tablespoon is fully incorporated into the soup. Continue one by one for the next 4-6 tablespoons, or until the soup reaches your preferred richness.


Roasted Chickpeas

Crunchy, roasted chickpeas make for tasty, arguably healthy, and relatively quick bar bites. With cooler weather just around the corner, it’s time to crank up the oven. To heat up the palate, warm spices like cumin, black pepper, and cayenne give roasted chickpeas a punch of flavor and a heat that brings pink to our cheeks (the cocktails help, too). If you want something with a little more complexity, season the roasted beans with garam masala or a spicy curry powder blend. Whatever you do, make sure their completely dry and dark brown. They should shatter when you bite them.

With nothing more than an inexpensive can of chickpeas (garbanzos), some olive oil and a little salt (all pantry staples), you can have this hearty snack prepped and toasting in 10 minutes. The oven does the rest of the work while you prep other dishes. Be sure to drain and pat the chickpeas dry between paper towels before tossing with oil and seasoning. The goal is to dehydrate them as much as possible as quickly as possible without burning them. Extra water slows that down.

Roasted chickpeas are a perfect snack whatever the libation. They’re equally at home with a glass of bubbly and a pint of beer. Their spices get an amplification boost from stiffer drinks like our favorite gin martini or a great rye Manhattan. In the highly unlikely event you have leftovers, they make great croutons on salad. Whatever the occasion, roasted chickpeas are a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

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Roasted Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garam masala (or other dried herbs of choice)
kosher salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Drain the can of chickpeas (discarded or save water for another use)and pat down the peas with a kitchen towel or paper towels until the peas are as dry as possible. Place the peas on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over them and toss until coated. Put the sheet pan in the oven.

After 8 minutes remove the peas from the oven and place them into a medium sized bowl. Add the garam masala, kosher salt, and pepper, toss until coated. Put the peas back on the sheet pan and return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes or until dark and crispy.

Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating.