I wasn't planning on writing anything tonight, but then I made dinner, and it was just so darn good that I felt a little selfish keeping it to myself, even though the recipe is really rough, and I just kinda made it up, and I can't even tell you exactly what I did. But bear with me, and I'll give it my best shot.
So, I had some pre-cut butternut squash sitting around from before Thanksgiving, and it has been getting moldy and squishy all week, because I haven't had the time/energy to use it. And I also had a few apples from the bottom of one of those supermarket bags of apples that were totally bruised and not much good for eating. A promising start, no?
A few weeks ago I made this fantastic Barefoot Contessa salad (again from Back to Basics, a.k.a., my new favorite book). The recipe is here if you want to make it, and. quite honestly, you should. But back to tonight. I decided to roast the squash exactly like I did for that salad, which is to say, with EVOO, a touch of maple syrup, salt and pepper. Once I picked through my squash and got rid of all the bad bits, I probably had about 2 cups of diced pieces. I peeled and cut the apples into eights, and then tossed it all together, then roasted them until the squash was soft, and the apples were very soft but SO AMAZING. (I'm going to have to look further into this roasted apple thing, because holy cow people, they were sooooooo good. I probably would have had more soup if I hadn't eaten so many apple pieces right out of the roasting pan!) I then pureed the roasted stuff with just enough vegetable stock to help them move around, and then I stirred in a little more, to make it the ideal consistency, and presto, dinner is served. It was earthy, sweet, tart, and just a tiny bit spicy, and woweeee. When this idea formulated in my mind I thought that it would need a dash of half and half to give it a little richness, but honestly the roasted vegetables came out like silk in the blender, and when I tried adding the half and half it ended up masking the tangy tartness of the apples, which I think really made the dish. And without it the dish is Vegan, which I think is pretty cool. Not that I'm a Vegan, or even a strict vegetarian, but I like to challenge myself to cook with restrictions sometimes, just to see if I can do it. And in this case, I can, and I will be making it again, and soon--I won't even wait until my ingredients are so-close-to-rotten-that-I-have-no-other-option-than-to-roast-and-puree-them-to-hide-their-flaws.
P.S. Fruits and veggies, people! I nearly forgot to mention, I ate 4 apples and several cups of squash for dinner and it was so good I felt like singing! Got all my servings today! And, only 5 ingredients; Claire Robinson, eat your heart out!
Butternut Squash and Apple Bisque
Serves as many as you want
As mentioned above, I basically used what I had around, which was 4 small/medium apples and about 2 cups, diced, of squash (although I probably ate about 1 apple's worth of pieces before making the soup, so more like 3 apples. This made one large dinner serving, so you can use this ratio to make your desired quantity.
For each serving:
* 3 smallish/2 larger apples, peeled/cored and cut into eight wedges (As it so happened, I had Cortlands, which are excellent cooking apples, because they hold their shape and have a bit of tartness, which really came through in this soup, so I would highly recommend Cortlands if you can get your hands on them)
* 2 cups of butternut squash, diced into 3/4-inch pieces
* A few swirls of extra virgin olive oil, enough to coat ingredients lightly
* A few tablespoons of pure maple syrup
* Salt and pepper
* Vegetable stock, about a 1/4 to 1/2 a cup per serving
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet (or 2, if you have a lot of apple/squash), with aluminum foil (for easy cleanup). In large bowl, toss the squash, apples, olive oil, and maple syrup, until the veg/fruit is evenly coated. Pour out in a single layer on your cookie sheet(s). Sprinkle with kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2. Roast veg/fruit until the squash is quite soft and apples begin to get nice brown bits, about 20-25 minutes.
3. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then put veg/fruit in a blender (in batches, if necessary), with just a few splashes of vegetable stock. Puree until smooth; use a spoon to move things around if necessary. Add additional vegetable stock until soup reaches the desired consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if you need to. Transfer into a saucepan to reheat if necessary, or just pour into bowls and serve.
As you can see, I like my soup thick. I'm getting hungry again just thinking about it.