Monday, December 10, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup with Sherry

It’s starting to get downright wintery around here these days. And while cold weather makes me miserable when I’m out in it (particularly when I’m out in it at 3am with a barking dog) it makes me happy when I’m either snuggled under the comforter in bed, or when I’m able to have my favorite soups. Whew, that was a long sentence. Still with me? Ok. So, soup. Man, that stuff is good. Warms your insides up. Butternut Squash Soup is a classic and it seems like everyone has their own favorite recipe. I decided to try a new one and found this on food52. I of course modified it because that’s just how I do. Plus, to me a soup is a constant adjustment. You taste it, and adjust. Not creamy enough? Add more cream (or cream cheese, or sour cream, or Greek yogurt). Not enough flavor? Add some spices. So follow this recipe to start, but then get out a nice clean spoon and start adjusting.

2 Tbsps unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
1 3-to-4-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
¼ Tsp freshly ground nutmeg
½ Tsp freshly ground black pepper
Salt to taste
3 Tbsps dry sherry
2 to 3 cups chicken broth/stock
1 cup milk
4oz cream cheese (optional)
½ Tsp cayenne (optional)

Get out your nice big soup pot or Dutch oven and melt butter over medium low heat. Cook your chopped onion in the butter until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in your squash, nutmeg, pepper and a half teaspoon of salt and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often. Add in the sherry and reduce for a few minutes, then pour in enough chicken broth or stock to cover the squash. I used about 3 cups. If you want to make it vegetarian just use veggie broth, but I personally like the taste of chicken broth a lot better. Turn up the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil, then take it back down to a simmer. Let it simmer for 20 minutes partially covered, or until the squash is fork tender.

If you have an immersion blender, this part is way easier than if you don’t. Blend together the soup with the milk. If you don’t have an immersion, you’ll have to blend it in batches in your blender. Be careful! At this point start to adjust. I like my soups to be a little bit creamier, so I added in some cream cheese. Just be careful to blend it in well or you will have little bits of cream cheese floating around. I also added cayenne pepper for some spice. If the soup is too thick, just add more chicken broth. Add salt and pepper to taste. The original recipe also said to stir in a “splash” of sherry just before serving, but I skipped it. Taste and adjust the spices and when you like what you taste, serve it up! It’s a great soup for those chilly days.

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