For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

SLO Butternut

Nothing beats a warm pot of soup on a cold rainy day. Especially when you have a few hours to duck out of the wet weather to stay home and relax. 

Although this frenzied time of year doesn't lend itself to much down time—the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has a tendency of taking over our lives—sometimes you just have to batten down the hatches and make some time for yourself. 

The following recipe, sent to me by mom, is simple to prepare, contains a star ingredient that is seasonal and delicious, and is guaranteed to warm you on a blustery winter day. 

Enjoy the remainder of the holidays...and the winter season. 

 
SLO BUTTERNUT SQUASH/WHITE BEAN SOUP
Adapted from a recipe by Joanne White

Serves: 2 - 4  
Suggested wine pairings: Chardonnay, Riesling, Viognier
 
INGREDIENTS

1 butternut squash (med - large)
1 can white beans
32 oz. vegetable broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 - 3 cloves chopped garlic
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup half & half or cream (optional)

DIRECTIONS


Preheat oven to 350°. Cut ends off of the squash and cut in half. Scrape out the seeds and place skin side down in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. Place in the oven and check every 30 minutes by piercing with a fork. Depending on the size of the squash, cooking times will vary and will take between 1 - 2 hours. When the fork easily pierces the squash, remove from the oven. 

The nice thing about this recipe is that you can roast the squash up to 2 days in advance and store in the fridge until you're ready to make the soup.

When you are ready to prepare the soup, scoop out the cooked squash and discard the skin. Chop the onions and garlic. Heat a large soup pan to medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, and the onions and garlic. Sauté for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture turns translucent and develops a bit of color.

Stir in cumin and chili powder to the onions and stir for about two minutes. Pour in the broth, add squash, and the can of white beans (rinse and drain them first). Reduce heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Taste for seasonings along the way and adjust if needed. When the flavors are just right for you, get out your blender or emulsifier. If you are using a blender, purée about half the soup and add it back to the pot. If emulsifying, careful not to blend the entire batch so that some chunks of squash and beans remain for texture. 

If you care to add the cream, stir it in just before serving. This adds an extra creamy texture, although the soup is equally delicious with or without this extra ingredient. 

Serve this warm, gratifying soup topped with freshly-ground pepper.
This winter squash imparts a sweet, nutty taste when roasted and lends itself well to this rich soup. Cream adds an extra depth and texture to this recipe.
Stay warm. 

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