Saturday, November 6, 2010

When Winter Comes to Town

After a steady stream of 80+ degree temperatures, cooler weather has officially arrived in Texas, along with wind and rain.  On days like today, I want nothing more than to curl up by a fire with a bowl of soup and read a good book.  Unfortunately, my 16 hours days generally prevent that from happening.  However, even I can find time to fit in a quick a hearty soup perfect for chilly rainy days, and although the weather will likely creep back up into the 80s, there will be a fire in my fireplace tonight.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Chicken Soup
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs bone-in, skin on
  • 2-4 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Sage leaves, chiffonade 
  • Approx. 1/2 tsp Cumin, Allspice, Ground Ginger
  • Prep the vegetables: peel the butternut squash, remove seeds, and chop into cubes.  Peel and chop the carrot and the onion.
  • Place the cubed squash, chopped onion, carrot, and chicken thighs on a cookie sheet.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Bake in a 425 degree oven, shaking the pan periodically, until the butternut squash is tender, approximately 30 minutes.  Set aside the roasted chicken to cool.

  • If you like fairly chunky soup, reserve around 1/4 of the baked mixture.  If you prefer a smoother soup, skip this step.  
  • Add the baked mixture into a bowl (if using an immersion blender) or otherwise in a regular blender.  Add around 1 cup chicken stock and blend to desired smoothness. Add additional chicken stock until the soup has reached the desired consistency.  Then add the heavy cream to give the soup an additional richness.

  • Remove the skins from the chicken and the chicken from the bones.  Shred the chicken and add to the soup.  Sprinkle in cumin, allspice, ground ginger, or any other spices you have on hand.  I don't measure;  I just sprinkle the top with a little of each.  Mix in the Sage leaf chiffonade.
  • Add the reserved baked pieces (if any) and stir to combine.  Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  • Ladle into bowls and enjoy by a toasty fireplace.

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