The snow predictions continue to change. 5″-9″… 6″-12″… 9″-14″… Question after question: Will school start on time? What about dismiss early? Is ballet cancelled? Are we prepared to lose power? How long is it going to take me to get out of this store? And really, how much bread do people eat in two days?
Eventually things slow down. Everyone is tucked inside, waiting for the nature of the beast to reveal itself. Questions still remain. Shouldn’t it have started by now? Is this all we’re going to get? Guess they got this one wrong. Well, time to make some soup.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 large, or 2 small, butternut squash
2 tablespoons butter
3 medium carrots, chopped
2 large celery stalks, chopped
2-3 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried sage
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup cooking sherry
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
optional soup toppings:
diced red bell pepper
chopped herbs: parsley, chives
Begin by roasting the squash. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash into large sections, remove seeds and place, flesh-side down, on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Roast for about one hour, until a knife pierces easily through the flesh. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add carrots and celery, mixing occasionally until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add dried herbs, nutmeg and bay leaves. Cook for another 2 minutes or so. Lower heat slightly. Scoop out squash flesh with a spoon and add to pot, being careful not to include any skin. Once all the squash has been added, add sherry and broth and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender. For this amount of soup, it can usually be done in two batches. Return soup to a pot and simmer. Soup should be quite thick. Add 1/2 cup of milk, mix thoroughly. Add more milk if you desire a thinner soup. Soup is ready to serve, or can continue simmer at a very low temperature.
Serve with crumbled bacon, chopped red bell pepper, chopped herbs or sour cream. Also goes great with some nice crusty bread. Enjoy!