The temperatures have gone from 90 to 55 like they saw a state trooper, and the two phrases that annually herald Fall are back: “Pumpkin Spice,” and “Butternut Squash.”
When it comes to Pumpkin Spice, I’ll turn my nose up and quote Michaleen Flynn from The Quiet Man: “When I drink coffee, I drink coffee; and when I eat pumpkins, I eat pumpkins.” Creative license clearly taken).
But Butternut Squash is another matter. True, everyone’s doing it. It is, after all, the only vegetable you hear about this time of year - it must have a better promoter than the Kardashians.
And while I’m not a big squash fan, when done right, butternut squash soup can be heavenly. This recipe straddles the sweet/savory line which is exactly what I want.
It’s vegan, dairy and gluten free.
1 large butternut squash
4 large carrots, washed and sliced
2 apples, sweeter variety
1 ripe plum
1 large white onion, diced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons red chili paste
1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped Thai Basil or 1 tablespoon dried
Salt and pepper to taste
Set the oven to 250.
In a Dutch oven on medium high, put the oil, onion and carrots.
Peel the squash and slice it in half, scooping out the guts and seeds. Dice into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot.
Peel and core/pit the apples and plums. Dice and throw into the pot.
Caramelize everything in the pot a bit, stirring occasionally just until everything starts to brown.
Pour in the broth, cover and place in the heated oven for at least 2-3 hours. Lauren and I went shopping and were probably gone for about 4 hours, but it’s at such a low temperature, it doesn’t matter. And it was Nordstrom’s. One doesn’t simply rush through Nordstrom’s.
When you’re back, remove the pot from the oven, add the coconut milk and blend thoroughly with an immersion blender. Or do it in a regular blender in batches.
Meet me at the neighborhood cleanup on Saturday.
Then, come home and have a bowl of this with a stout, sturdy bread and a glass of a full-bodied Chardonnay or Viognier. Don’t go for the light, crisp varieties with this soup. If you can find it, try some 2016 Monterrey Old Cannery Row Chardonnay.