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Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Squash and Garlic Soup 2

Autumn is slowly turning into winter, as I write this post. The coats are all out now, and the sweaters are on. There is frost in the evenings, and the plants are all indoors, being dug up by one very naughty cat! The leaves are all a beautiful yellow, and some trees are so red, they look like they're on fire. Yes, autumn is beautiful in the prairies... and there are days when I totally understand why the colours of the city are green and gold. We have also been quite lucky with the weather being so beautiful for the past month, its been beautifully sunny, even when its crisp and cold. I can smell winter in the air, the gentle hint of woodsmoke, the tickling of the cold breezes... and the incessant chattering of a little girl who, in her words, 'can't wait for the snow to come so I can make snow angels'. Sigh!! I am so going to remind her of this when she's complaining about being cold when there's four feet of snow on the ground.

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Rosemary from my garden

But while the weather makes its change, its time to bring out the big pots for soups and stews. Lucky for me, that Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes, who is hosting No Croutons Required this month, chose squash as the ingredient of the month. If there is one vegetable that embodies autumn, its squash, with its beautiful golden colours, and delicate sweetness that's the perfect foil for a hint of homemade garam masala (the recipe is coming next week, I promise, I've written it out and it just needs pictures... UPDATE: Its here, finally! ), and the smoky-sweet taste of roasted garlic. The rosemary adds another layer of complexity to this essentially simple and easy soup.

So you can tell I really like squash, right? Right! I really like squash. I like it because its so versatile, and I love the fact that I can buy one and not have to use it the very next day. I can keep it for when I have to have to have one. I love it in risottos, in soups, in chilis, in stews. I roast it with some garlic and cinnamon for the perfect side dish. Its easy, nutritious and so beautifully tasty.

I made a curried butternut squash soup for Masterchef, if you remember, and that recipe also featured in the Masterchef Cookbook. But this recipe is a bit different to that one. It still has the spice, but just a teeny hint, as opposed to the spicier version. The spice is just enough for someone to wonder what you've put in it, but not quite place the flavour. I like to compare it to when you're walking down a street and catch the faintest whiff of a delicate perfume that lingers after that lovely woman (or man, I am no sexist) passes you by... enough to tantalise and tease, but not so that you're completely overwhelmed.

Which also makes me wonder why the heck I am getting all poetic all of a sudden... now that's definitely not me, but the aftereffects of this soup. So do try it out, then let me know if you get all romantic after (actually on second thoughts, don't tell me) :-)

Squash and Garlic Soup

Recipe:
(Printable Recipe)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
5 fat garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tsp garam masala
1 medium onion, diced
Sprig of rosemary, leaves picked
2 tbsp olive oil
500 ml (2 cups) hot vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste, if required

Method:

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Place the cubed squash in a roasting tin, and drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle over the garam masala. Rub the garlic cloves with a little oil, then make a tiny prick in the skins to let the steam escape. Place in the roasting tin with the squash.

Place the tin the preheated oven, and roast for about 35 - 40 minutes, until the squash is soft, and browning around the edges. Take out and leave to cool a little.

Remove the garlic from the roasting tin, and peel off the skins, which should pop off quite easily at this stage.

Meanwhile, make the soup base.

Place the remaining olive oil in a pot, then add the onion and the rosemary leaves. Sauté on a medium heat until the onion is soft, and just beginning to colour, about 7 - 8 minutes. Add the hot stock, and the roasted squash and garlic. Stir together.

Blend the soup using either a blender, or an immersion blender until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your taste.

You can thin the soup a little using more hot stock, if you feel that the soup is too thick (we love it quite thick and creamy)

Serve with a drizzle of oil, a sprinkle of pepper and some rosemary, with a chunk of bread on the side.

Squash and Garlic Soup 1

11 comments :

  1. We have just harvested our butternuts (last week) so a soup like this is perfect for the cool weather that is forecast for this weekend!

    ... and I feel your pain. We have a very naughty kitten that is having a field day with our plants too!

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  2. This one looks great Michelle. And considering I'm living in the land of pumpkin (they call butternut squash pumpkin here...) I will definitely be making it soon.

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  3. I have a soft spot for squash soup. It really is fall - something very comforting about it and the rosemary would make a lovely addition to it. Great photos in this post Michelle. :)

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  4. That looks absolutely gorgeous; after a short period of unseasonably mild weather we are just moving into an arctic air flow and this soup looks ideal to fend off the icy draughts under the door! Lovely.

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  5. Awesome combo. a nice one for the season of Halloween.

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  6. There was a repeat episode of Masterchef on recently, the series where Matt of Wild Garlic wins. I saw you on on of the episodes, i had not realised you were a comeback contestant in that series. Anyway, I am liking this soup.

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  7. So delicious and I have all the ingredients !! can't wait :)
    Mary x

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  8. Errrm. That should have read drafts! Icy game pieces coming under the door, shades of "Attack of the killer chessmen"

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  9. A great soup Michelle and you aren't the only one to have teamed butternut squash with rosemary. I thought it was an interesting combination I hadn't thought of. I am looking forward to your recipe for garam masala. Thanks for submitting your soup. I am just writing up the roundup just now from my sick bed :(

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  10. Mmm, this sounds great. I use a lot of rosemary in soups :)

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