Saturday, October 30, 2010

Attack of the Jumbo Croutons

Ok, so let’s take a step back and talk about a non-cooking disaster. Butternut Squash Soup! Seriously, butternut squash is the hippest, coolest vegetable out there. Anyone you would ask would say they LOVE butternut squash, not even just LIKE it. It’s the iPod of vegetables. Cool to eat, cool to cook. Just cool!

It’s getting chillier here – and thank god after our horrid hot summer from hell! The leaves are changing colors, we’re all sleeping with warmer blankets that our spouses continue to claim that we steal at night. It’s a cyclical thing. I wanted butternut squash soup as soon as I saw the gourd staring right me at the store. And the thing about butternut squash --- I wanted to make it myself. It’s probably the one vegetable that intimidates the least people, because anyway you do it, it will turn out delicious.

So taking a cue from the Barefoot Mountessa, I roasted the squash with some olive oil, salt and pepper in the oven. And then I added it to a pot with chicken stock and pureed it. It was a bit watery because I didn’t anticipate having so little squash after roasting it – shrinkage, you see – so I thickened the soup a bit with some cream and also a touch of flour added to some set aside soup and then plonked back into the pot.

I also wanted to make some croutons to go with. I sautéed some bread cubes in a lovely garlic and herb olive oil. I admit I may have cut big cubes – maybe to compensate for my little itty bitty squash cubes post-roasting – but it was still delicious, so who cares. Oh, and how could I forget, for added flavor I added ground nutmeg to the soup. Goes together like peas and carrots, you see.