RECIPE #139, DAY #160
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Winter Squash and Sweet Potato Soup,” from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson*
TIMING: 15-20 minutes in the morning, and 6 hours in the slow cooker
DIFFICULTY: As long as you can peel and chop a squash (which is a slightly advanced kitchen accomplishment)
TOOLS: A slow cooker, a wand blender (or blender) and other regular stuff
COOK TYPE: Stovetop and slow cooker
HEALTH: Low in fat, high in vitamins and nutrients, this is like a shot to your arm before any sort of meal. With tons of vitamins C and A as well as plenty of phytonutients, this will nourish you but not exactly satiate you: it’s really a meal starter.
EXPERIENCE: Still trying out the new slow cooker, but was on vegetarian night. I had a sweet potato. I had a winter squash. And I had some sort of desire to dislike a soup, again.
Let me explain: Years ago, I visited a friend in her fully-functional, domestic and all-natural home, and she had a pot of butternut squash soup on. She served up a small bowl for both me and another friend, and we blew the steam away and sipped from our spoons. The soup was the color of cantaloupe with a glistening sheen, and it tasted wonderful. When we both begged for the recipe, she looked surprised and shrugged it off. She had just thrown in some squash and Parmesan and some other things. She had not added cream.
Whether this story is a testament to Rebecca’s cooking skills or to the supremacy of the squash she used (probably both), I have tried several times to make a butternut squash soup that tastes even a fraction as wonderful as her did, and I have failed miserably every time.
Here is perhaps the best of the recipes I tried, although it still doesn’t make one swoon. And I am still searching for the swoonable butternut squash soup.
NOTES: If you don’t need your amuse bouche to be vegetarian, you could use a mild chicken stock.
Also, if you do not own a wand/stick blender, you can blend the soup in a blender. Blend it in batches, and protect yourself against steam by covering the lid with a kitchen towel. Be careful!
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add 1 chopped onion and 2 sliced ribs celery. Cover and cook until translucent.
- Dump onion and celery into the insert of the slow cooker. Add 2 peeled and chopped sweet potatoes, 1 peeled and chopped butternut squash, 4 cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon salt, and a hefty pinch ground black pepper.
- Cook, covered, on low for 6 hours.
- When finished cooking, use a wand/stick blender to puree the soup. Taste for seasonings.
Serve with crostini and some sort of garnish, like olive oil and fresh sage, or Parmesan, or a drizzle of cream.
*Recipe changed from the original.