Thursday, November 09, 2006

Squash Soup Symposium

So I made a soup tonight of butternut squash and just a few more ingredients. And it was kinda blah. So here's the recipe, and all you chefs out there help me out. What does it need?

Bear in mind this comes from Cooking With Just Four Ingredients, so it's supposed to be a minimalist approach to the dish, but let me know what you think or if you've got a better recipe. Okay, here goes (for real this time):

Winter Squash Soup with Tomato Salsa

1 large butternut squash or small pumpkin, halved ad seeded.
5 tsbp garlic-flavored olive oil
2 onions, chopped
4-8 tbsp tomato salsa

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place the butternut swuash or pumpkin on a baking sheet and brush with some of the oil and roast for 25 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°F and cook for 20-25 minutes more, or until the squash is tender.

2. Heat the remaining oil in a large, heavy pan and cook the chopped onions over a low heat for about 10 minutes, or until softened.

3. Meanwhile, scoop the squash out of its skin, adding it to the pan. Pour in 2 pints/5 cups water and stir in 1tsp salt and plenty of black pepper. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Cool the soup slightly, then process it in a blender or food processor to a smooth purée. Alternatively, press the soup through a fine seive with the back of a spoon. Reheat without boiling, then ladle it into warmed bowls. Top each serving with a spoonful of salsa and serve.

I didn't have a good salsa for this recipe and the typical "chips and salsa" kind struck me as a bad match to the squash, so I skipped that step, which I now realize cut down on the flavor. Next time, I'll make sure to compensate or just have some real, non-Tostinos salsa on hand. Also, the author suggested that you could add fresh chopped marjoram or oregano. I didn't have any, so I opted for dried marjoram, but I think I didn't add enough.

However, one problem arises with the water - isn't a pint only 4 cups, not 5 as the recipe indicates? The author is great about giving all measurements in metric and English and other random equivalents, but I still think that's a mistake. That definitely would have made the soup richer. Still, should I add dairy? Does it need more spicing? I'm so inexperienced with both squashes and soups that I feel a bit lost. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Soups are a good choice for us because I can make a bunch at once and save half (or more) for later. Most of the other meals I made I halve automatically so I end up with one portion of leftovers at best and end up cooking every night of the week. I'd like a break that didn't cost as much as eating out and still included good food. (I'm advocating leftovers here; no one tell my dad or he'll die of shock.)

Anyway, your eyeballs and tastebuds are much appreciated. I'll be over here wondering what in the world happened. Hubster didn't like it, and he was so deflated to have to tell me that. Because he's a fantastic husband, he made sure to emphasize that this rarely happens since he loves almost everything I cook for us. Is he not dishy and sweet?


Mair said...

my first thought is that it's the water that's making it blah. Try using vegetable stock instead...and maybe a slight bit of cream. Also, I had some butternut soup once that was topped with a pinch of fresh parsley and it was so delicious! My second thought is maybe there needs to be some butter somewhere??? Perhaps when you saute the onions, or maybe when you add the sqaush to the pan.

Good luck!

J. Morgan Caler said...

I agree with Mair. As for the salsa, try mango salsa or chutney, Paul Newman makes a nice one.

Anonymous said...

When my mom and grandmother make butternut squash soup, they use ham broth. (Obviously if you did this, you would leave out the salsa, but you might try it sometime and see what you gives it a heartier flavor.)


Jennie said...

I recommend ginger...

PS. Tell Phil "Hello" from Idaho. Hope you have a raucous good time with him.

Cap'n Ganch said...

I recommend the fire roasted salsa from Costco. They also have a mean peach mango salsa that may add an interesting flavor to the squash soup.

Also, who is this Jennie and why is she in my own private Idaho? Hello, Jennie, I'm in the Panhandle.

Graceful Peaceful German Fischer said...

Oh, dearest Four Ingredient cookbook, how I have loved and hated thee.

I have that cookbook. I made that recipe. And it's an awful recipe. You need flavored broth - not water (like the ham person said, but I'd go with just chicken or veggie). You need CREAM FOR PETE'S SAKE. Cream is the only reason butternut squash soup should be allowed to persist. I was intrigued by the salsa component to the dish, but, if your soup is runny, and your salsa cold and chunky, it resembles vomit. And tastes similar.

So, I'd look for a different recipe. The book has a bitchin' lima bean, pesto, and tomato soup - it's delicious, and lasts forever - I've made it about three times this year. As well as the watercress and cheese. I also have to mention the drunken chicken, soy-marinated chicken, and mushroom stroganoff - all excellent. I'll be working on the desserts next.

Jennie said...

I'm at the very bottom of the pan handle... Moscow, trying to survive these wet days. Nice to know that E has 2 friends from the potato state.

Cap'n Ganch said...

We're not so far away. I'm in St. Maries.