Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Potimarron squash soup: day 215.

Yowza! Two months without a post!! As you can see, my foray into the fine and admirable world of beer brewing has been taking a lot of my free time (both on the brewing front and the emptying-bottles-for-the-next-batch front). As several people have been attributed to saying, "Beer is proof that God loves us!" Amen to that, brothers and sisters. But I digress...

You're here for the squash soup recipe. Well, as luck would have it, my dear squashes decided to ripen the very day I was about to leave for Stockholm for a week. (Stockholm rocks, by the way. Special thanks to the Akkurat Pub for brilliant cask conditioned ales, The Delta Saints for a great show at the Akkurat on the day I arrived, and to my brilliant dance partners Julie, Alessandro, and Kristina who made Viveka's party a real hoot! But I digress again...).

ANYWAY, I knew that if I left my squashes in the garden while I was off dancing in Stockholm the squirrels would make them look like this (!) -- as they did with the poor sucker I left out "just to see."

Thankfully I had the presence of mind to harvest them when they looked like this, after which I hid them in the cold room in the basement (with all that beeeeeeer!) to await their fate in the soup pot a week later.

So, on with the recipe (finally!). You'll need 1 potimarron squash (see here to start your own 215 day odessey if they are not at your local store), 3 leeks (or two fat ones), 3 cups of milk, about 3 cups of water, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and for a garnish: a tart apple, some toasted hazelnuts, and a blub of heavy cream.

The first thing to do is give your squash a scrub. It goes in the pot peel and all so you'll want it to be mostly clean. Then hack the thing in half with a cleaver (that comes all the way from China -- but be careful!), scoop out the seeds (save them for next year!), slice it into wedges, and then chop those wedges into little cubes. Phew!

Now get those leeks clean. As you know (or will know soon) leeks are usually full of sand. The coolest way to clean this gunk out is to slice the leek lengthwise almost to the root, and then open the two sides like a book under a running tap to wash the goop out from between the layers.

Once the leeks are clean, chop 'em up!

Put the leeks, squash, milk, and water into a big Dutch oven. Add a good dose of salt, and bring it all to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about half an hour (until the squash is soft).

Once the squash is cooked, it's time to puree! If you don't have a food processor, this will be no fun, so skip the whole recipe -- OR, if you're already 214 days in, peel the squash before you cook it and use a food mill or potato ricer or some other retro implement to get the job done. The peeling will be key though, since without those whirring Moulinex blades, your hopes of rendering the peel edible will be dashed. (I sure hope you read the whole recipe first like you're supposed to.) Puree in batches so the food processor doesn't overflow (never, ever, fun).

Now is a good time to switch pots, since you need a place to put the puree. At this point you can decide if you want to thin the soup with a little more milk -- totally personal preference here.

Season with nutmeg (however much you think is reasonable) and add some salt and pepper if a taste makes you think it's deficient. Then heat it up again in the nice clean pot.

While it's heating, get your garnishes ready.

Toast some hazelnuts in a skillet.Then chop 'em up.

Chop an apple nice and fine.

And serve! Put the apple and nuts in the bottom of your soup bowls, ladle in the soup, and drizzle with a little cream. Looks great, tastes great, and was almost worth the 215 day wait! :D Bon appetit! And special thanks to Dorie Greenspan whose recipe got this whole ball rolling so many days ago!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant. Trying this one this week. You clean your leaks the same way my grandmother taught me to clean mine. Great minds and all.