Butternut Squash Soup

I can’t believe it’s the end of August; I love the summer so much! The older I get the faster the seasons seem to pass. I heard the crickets loud as ever last week and before I know it they will be sneaking out of the cracks and greeting me in the wee hours of the morning, just before I’m off to work. In the next few weeks my husband and I will try to visit the Jersey shore as many times as we can fit into our schedules. But the time will pass quickly and fall will be upon us. Aside from summer, I love fall almost as much. I love the baking, our trip to Pittsburg to try and catch the fall foliage and visit my husband’s childhood home town. Pulling out the sweaters and lighting the fireplace for the first time on a chilly night. It’s so much fun Spotting the first pumpkins and gourds at the local farm market. Going on a hay ride with your family and pulling out recipes for favorite soups and stews. With all of these things to look forward to I can open my mind and embrace the upcoming season. Sundays are good days for me to be in the kitchen. After church I love to come home and make something special for my family. Today with the realization that the end of summer is about a month away, I thought I’d try making butternut squash soup. I’ve never made butternut squash soup so it will be a time of testing for me. I have had it at restaurants and last year at a friend’s house. I really enjoyed it each time I tasted it. I knew I would love to make it for my family homemade. I scouted the internet for recipes. There are many! I saw recipes that boiled the squash and vegetables and others that roasted them. I’m a big fan of roasted vegetables. Roasting just seems to bring so much flavor out of any vegetable. The other ingredient I wanted in the soup was apple. This is sure sounding like a fall soup now! I consulted my flavor bible book and decided to use bay leaf, nutmeg and cinnamon to add flavor. I also added an over flowing tablespoon of pure maple syrup to add a little more sweetness. To finish the soup I added a good dash of light cream and fresh grated nutmeg, just a dash. For a garnish on my soup I toasted some pumpkin seeds and sprinkled them on top. My house smelled amazing during this process I must say. My husband was kindly yelling out smells good in here! I just love that. Cooking and baking is such a blessing to me when I can share it with others. That’s what makes it a joyous task. Well, after about an hour and a half I brought my soup out to my husband for tasting. He really enjoyed it, as did I. All the flavors and ratios worked well together. I would definitely serve this to company. I would however like to make this soup a few more times and try a few different recipes before I give it a place of honor in my recipe box. As much as I will miss summer I’m looking forward to fall and all the fun and yummy things that come with it. God Bless and enjoy your day!

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Butternut Squash Soup

2 lbs. butternut squash, cut into 1 inch cubes

1 large granny smith apple, peeled and cored, cut into 1 inch cube

1 large yellow onion, cut into 1 inch cube

Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

3 tablespoons olive oil

2-3 cups vegetable stock

1 bay leaf

1/8 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Dash of cream

Fresh grated nutmeg, optional

½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

On a baking tray evenly spread out the prepared squash, apple, and onion. Sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Pour olive oil over the vegetables and apple. Bake 30-35 minutes until the squash is very tender. When done roasting the vegetables pour them into a saucepan. Add 1 ½ cups of vegetable broth, the bay leaf, and the nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring to a gentle boil and heat through and let the spices marry. About 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup and add the remaining broth until you have a nice consistency to the soup. Finish the soup with a good dash of cream stirring to combine. Grate a little fresh nutmeg over top. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

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Carrot soup

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Carrot soup was always on the menu at The Mulberry Tearooms where I had worked for a short time. It is creamy and delicious. The grated carrot added after the soup is pureed compliments with a little texture. This soup was a favorite with all the customers and me! It was served with a warm baguette and butter. I loved to dip it into the soup. I penned down as much of the recipe as I could while at work on part of a menu. I took my penned notes and what I remembered when making the soup and came up with this recipe. Always use the freshest ingredients. I know you will love this comforting soup as much as I do. Enjoy!

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Carrot Soup

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 ¼ lbs. fresh organic carrots, peeled and cut into 2inch pieces

4 oz. finely grated organic carrots

1 large onion, sliced

1 large clove garlic, minced

¾ teaspoon of kosher salt, or to your taste

¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper, or to your taste

31/2 cups good vegetable stock or chicken stock

¼ cup heavy cream

Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Crème fraiche or sour cream

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Add the sliced onion cook for about 5minutes just to sweat the onion. Add the garlic cook for 1-2 minutes then add the cut carrots, and salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the stock, bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the carrots are fork tender. Puree soup in a food processor or emersion blender. If using food processor put the soup back in the pot. Add the grated carrot, fresh nutmeg. Cook 10 minutes more till soup is heated through. Serve with a dollop of crème fraiche or sour cream. Serve with French baguette or sour dough bread.

Note: If you don’t want the extra calories of the heavy cream you can omit it. You may need to add just a little extra stock after you puree.

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Cream of Chicken and Potato soup

Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup

It’s a beautiful, chilly fall day here in South Jersey. My boys stopped by to visit today, so I thought I’d treat them to a comforting homemade soup. This soup reminds me of my chicken potpie filling, just a lot easier. I stopped at the food store after church and picked up a fresh rotisserie chicken to make the task a little easier. I want to cook them a homemade soup but have time to enjoy their company as well. Will call this semi homemade! The soup couldn’t be easier to put together. I peeled and chopped the veggies and put them in the pot, covered them with the stock cooked them till they were tender, and then added the prepared chicken.  While the veggies are cooking I made the white sauce then combined the two and our soup was ready. It’s rich and hearty, and tastes like it took hours to make. We all enjoyed the soup and spending some time together. Having my boys for a visit made my Sunday an extra special day.

Base of the soup.
Base of the soup.
White Sauce.
White Sauce.
Base of soup and white sauce combine.
Base of soup and white sauce combine.
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup.
Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup.

Cream of Chicken and Potato Soup

Soup Base

5 Cups russet potatoes, peeled, washed and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 small onion, chopped

3-4 Carrots, peeled wash a cut into ½ inch rounds

2 Bay leaves

4 Sprigs of thyme remove the leaves and discard the stems

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces, or the breast of one rotisserie chicken cut into bite sized pieces.

3-4 Cups chicken stock

½ Teaspoon kosher salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper to taste

Fresh parsley to garnish

White Sauce

5 Tablespoons butter

5 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk, whole or 2 percent

In a large pot add the potatoes, onion, fresh thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper, and chicken stock. The stock should just cover the vegetables. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower to medium heat to simmer the vegetables until they are fork tender. About 12-15 minutes. Add the cooked chicken. Remove the bay leaves. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a large fry pan over medium low heat. Add the flour to the butter and stir with a whisk. Cook while stirring for 1-2 minutes to cook out the flour taste from the butter. Turn the gas up to a medium high heat and add the milk slowly while whisking into the butter and flour mixture. Whisk till the mixture becomes thick and bubbly. With a wooden spoon add the white sauce to the vegetable mixture over medium heat slowly to combine. Taste for the seasoning you may want more salt or pepper at this point. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving. Cook 5-10 minutes more and serve or simmer on a very low flame till you are ready to serve.

If you would like to make this soup vegetarian use vegetable stock and omit the chicken. You could add celery and more carrots to make it a little heartier.

Listen! the wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves, we have had our Summer evenings, now for October eves!

Humbert Wolfe

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