Sunday, November 4, 2007

Yay for fall!

Fall is my favorite season. I love the brisk weather, breaking out the sweaters, the gorgeous colors of the leaves, getting to wear my hats.
In addition to all that great stuff, I love the flavors of fall as well. This weekend, I made one of my favorite fall meals, Curried Winter Squash Soup with Sweet Spices.

I discovered this recipe in an unlikely place. Shortly after I graduated from college, I bought a new computer from Gateway. As often happens when you buy a computer, there was lots of random software that they bundled with the computer. Most of it was of no interest to me, but when I looked through the CDs that they gave me, there was one that caught my eye. It was called MasterCook Deluxe from Sierra Home. It was a recipe software that came loaded with TONS or recipes. This soup was one of them. I've tried several of the recipes from this software and they have all be really good, but this one is a favorite in our household. It's one Psycling and I both look forward once we notice a chill in the air and we see winter squash come into season.

For this dinner, I served the soup with a salad of mixed greens with apple slices, pecans, and dried cranberries, dressed with a basic vinaigrette from one of my favorite cookbooks. It made for a great fall dinner!

Curried Winter Squash Soup with Sweet Spices

1 medium Butternut squash
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbs. butter
1 tsp. curry powder
2 medium apples, cored, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
White pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, brush the outside with olive oil, and place cut-side-down, on a cookie sheet. Bake until tender, 30-45 minutes
3. While squash is baking, chop the onions and applies. When the squash is done, remove it to cool.
4. Melt the butter in a heavy soup pot. Add the onion and cook until softened but not brown. Add curry powder and cook, stirring one minute more. Add the apple. Scoop out pieces of squash and stir them into the pot. Add thyme, salt, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes.
5. Remove the solids to a food processor or blender and puree until smooth, adding liquid to promote circulation. Return to the pot, add cream, and bring back to a boil and remove from heat. Add salt and white pepper to taste, and serve.

Cook's Notes: I added a bit of sage to this recipe, and I've found that it deepens the flavor nicely. Also, this soup can be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock, and it still takes wonderful (I've tried it). Finally, this soup is really good served with whole wheat pita wedges for dipping.

So, as we head into November, enjoy the beautiful leaves, brisk weather, and sweaters. And at the end of the day, warm up with this wonderful soup that has become one of my favorite comfort foods!