Remember the recent post when I went on and on about how I needed a picture to be inspired to cook something? Well, a friend of mine told me about this butternut squash soup by Ina Garten with toppings that included but were not limited to: diced bananas, coconut flakes, and scallions. For some reason, without a beautiful photograph of the finished soup to taunt me, I kept thinking about those diced bananas. Diced what, Ina? On butternut squash soup? How bad can that be?
I took a look at the recipe and realized it was a curry-inspired version of the soup, which lent a better understanding to the condiment selection, but also increased my desire to make it. But alas, that left me with no "their version" photo and I couldn't just make the soup like a normal non-attempt meal, could I? That wouldn't be fair to the world. So, I thought about it and came to the decision that Ina Garten with her Martha-Stewarty-but-in-a-much-more-approachable-way lifestyle and beautiful Hampton's kitchen was inspiration enough.
As it turns out, throwing out the one mainstay element of this blog proved extremely freeing for me. All it took was Matt and I accidentally eating both of the bananas we'd bought for the recipe during breakfast for me to forgo the entire curried nature of the recipe. (We ate at separate times. Who ate the second banana? We don't know. Is this like reverse Gift of the Magi?) And what resulted was a butternut squash soup inspired by Ina's recipe, but with a heavy dose of Bon Appetempt improvisation (read: half and half).
Ina's soup was essentially three ingredients: b-nut squash, yellow onion, and apple. And they were all roasted together, the smell of which was supremely autumnal and lovely.
After the roasting, we blended with chicken stock, watched the U.S.A Men's curling team blow it, and then poured the mixture into a thick-bottomed stock pot.
At this point, Ina would have you heat it up, serve into bowls and add the weird stuff on top, but might I recommend adding some half and half first? I think it really mellowed the squash and apple flavors while making it a little richer. Also, don't go light on the salt here. To serve, we skipped the banana and coconut, but went for the scallions and toasted cashews.
Thanks, Ms. Garten!
3 to 4 pounds butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 yellow onions
2 McIntosh apples, peeled and cored
3 tablespoons good olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/2 teaspoon good curry powder
Condiments for serving:
Scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and sliced diagonally
Flaked sweetened coconut, lightly toasted
Roasted salted cashews, toasted and chopped
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Cut the butternut squash, onions, and apples into 1-inch cubes. Place them on a sheet pan and toss them with the 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, until very tender.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock to a simmer. When the vegetables are done, put them through a food mill fitted with the medium blade. (Alternatively, you can place the roasted vegetables in batches in a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add some of the chicken stock and coarsely puree.) When all of the vegetables are processed, place them in a large pot and add enough chicken stock to make a thick soup. Add the curry powder (OR some half and half?), 1 teaspoon salt, and 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 either on the side or on top of each serving.