Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic

Are you craving a super silky incredibly flavorful soup?  Something that welcomes you back in from shoveling the driveway from another snowstorm?  Looking for a bright and cheery way to illuminate the long dark days of winter?  I give you:  Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup with Roasted Garlic.  I love pureed vegetable soups that are healthy, full of intense flavor, and velvety, silky, or creamy (but without any cream!).  Being winter, butternut squash soups are all over food blogs and magazines.  Matt is crazy about sweet potatoes and I had some rosemary and sage leftover from yesterday's veal stew with mushrooms (a Marcella Hazan recipe) and a half a butternut squash from last week's crispy chicken with golden raisin and butternut squash compote from Food and Wine Magazine.  I also still had one quart left of vegetable stock in the freezer, so this was a no-brainer today!

You will need:
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 2 TBS olive oil or butter (I prefer butter, but olive oil will work, and it is healthier!)
  • 2 medium onions, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 pound butternut squash (half of one medium squash), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 3 small/medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 sprig fresh sage, with two or three leaves
  • 1 quart vegetable or chicken stock
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
What you will do:
  • Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat.
  • Place garlic cloves in dry pan and pan roast, turning regularly, until cloves are soft and very fragrant, they will likely get a few black spots.
  • Remove garlic cloves from pan and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed 4 qt pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add onion and a few pinches of salt, lower heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent.
  • Add squash and sweet potato to pot, and sweat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes
  • Add stock, rosemary and sage sprigs.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer soup for about 15 to 25 minutes, or until squash and sweet potato are very tender.
  • Remove pot from heat and remove rosemary and sage sprigs, discard.
  • Peel roasted garlic, removing any burned parts and tough stems.
  • Place garlic and soup into a food processor (you may need to do this in batches if your processor is less than 12 cups capacity, alternatively, use an immersion blender in your pot).
  • Process until silky smooth.
  • Season with black pepper and salt to taste, a couple grinds and a pinch at a time.

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