butternut squash soup & culinary freedom due to banana stuff

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.

Ina's version(?):

our version:
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
Diced banana

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.
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Matthew said...

I think you ate the second banana.

Anonymous said...

We were watching that too. I can hardly watch now. I am hoping John Shuster can find redemption. He looks so sweet. But, doesn't curling look FUN?!?! We are dying to try it now. Kudos to your squash soup too. I think I'll have to try it this Fall.

Wendi said...

I've made this soup, minus the toppings. And I added some mango chutney which brought a little more sweetness and heat.

This recipe is in Ina's current cookbook where there is a big dreamy photo of the soup.

Ina's Butternut Squash Soup is a keeper!


Andrea said...

I'm one of the weird people who doesn't really like butternut squash and sweet potatoes, particularly if they're too sweet. This looks really delicious, though!

Adam and Henry have banana-eating fights all the time.

amelia said...

oh wow, thanks for all the info., Wendi! Got to get my hands on her newest book.

Wendi said...

Amelia, I'd suggest seeing if you can check it out of the library or get it used online before shelling out full price for it. Because as much as I heart Ina, I can't get excited about a lot of the recipes in Back to Basics. But that might just be me.

George Gaston said...

Amelia, your butternut squash soup looks marvelous ~ with just the right toppings!

This is one of my favorite soups, so I will definitely try yours. Many thanks...

amelia said...

good to know, Wendi. What I like to do is linger in the cookbook section at Barnes and Noble...sometimes even sitting down on the floor, which is usually followed by an employee asking me to kindly stand up.

Mary Anne said...

LOVE the new banner!!!!!

The818 said...

I think you guys are both Bananas.


Hey Ames - I left you an award on my blog today. I'm a dork, I know. Come and get it?