Since Mid-Summer I have, apparently, been unable to stop cooking. I've raided my mom's and cousin's and great aunt's gardens, accepted friend's overflow of their family's garden goodness, ordered multiple CSA boxes from Fresh Direct and been to the Union Square Greenmarket every Wednesday. I can't stop. My roommate is not complaining.
With the start of Fall and the gray weather this week, I felt inspired to actually use my oven. An important seasonal switch, if ya ask me, because once that sucker's on my apartment's climate rides the line between tropical and Hades. My jaunt to the Greenmarket had yielded one gigantic 5 pound butternut squash, an equally mammoth Jonagold apple, a yellow onion, some beautiful oyster mushrooms, and a loaf of extremely dense Hawthorne Valley Farmer's Bread. I split the squash into three pieces, scooped out the seeds and set them aside. After pre-heating the oven to 425, I brushed the squash with melted butter and put it in to roast for an hour (or until it's fork tender). While waiting for it to cook, I rinsed the seeds, patted them dry and tossed them in olive oil, diced the apple and half of the onion and caught up on Sons Of Anarchy. After an hour of motorcycles and mayhem, the squash had softened enough. I set it aside to cool while I sautéed the apple and onion in butter and sage. I spread the seeds on a baking tray and popped them in the oven for approximately ten minutes to toast.
Once the apple and onion were soft, I scooped out the flesh of the roasted squash and added it to the pot with 4 cups of vegetable stock, a pinch of salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne. Since the oven was already on and I was eating at home with my roommate, I decided to roast a head of garlic with olive oil and sage to spread on the Farmer's Bread. Garlic in, seeds out and tossed in salt and chili powder, the soup pot was beginning to boil. I reduced it to a simmer to allow the flavors to get to know each other. My apartment might have been a balmy 80 degrees, but it was starting to smell delicious!
When I cook, I like to employ the Julia Childs method and sip while I stir! The cooler weather brings with it the chance to enjoy dark rich beer and spicy full red wine. For the roasted butternut squash soup, a perfect autumnal pairing could be a warming Smuttynose Brown Ale or a toasty Sam Smith Nut Brown, or take a different route and go for a Bell's Two Hearted IPA.
My roommate was in charge of beverages and opted to celebrate the change of season with a bottle of Rioja. Half a glass later, I took the soup off the heat and added 1/3 cup of coconut milk. I sliced up the Farmer's Bread to toast it in the oven and, after seeing how dense of a bread it was, opted to brush it with olive oil first. The oyster mushrooms also got drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and put in with the bread.
Bread and shrooms toasting, I grabbed my handy immersion blender and pureed the apples, onion, sage and squash mixture. The garlic came out perfectly caramelized and buttery, I put it in a small bowl with olive oil and cracked pepper. The soup got ladled into bowls and topped with the toasted seeds and mushrooms. Wine poured, we started eating. My roommate looked at his bowl and said "yeah, I'm ok with October now."
Want to celebrate fall with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup?
4 or 5 pounds of butternut squash
1 large apple, diced
1/2 yellow onion, diced
8 sage leaves, torn
4 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream)
salt pepper cayenne cinnamon cumin