September 15, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

Many think about one type of squash – summer squash. But, there is another kind that is just as tasty and easy to cook with- winter squash.

My favorite, Butternut Squash is a winter squash that has a hard, thick skin and it is filled with seeds. It can range in size from 8 to 12 inches long, and about 3 to 5 inches wide, weighing up to 3 pounds. The color of the Butternut Squash ranges from a yellow to a light tan. Inside, the flesh is orange and has a sweet flavor.

Available in early Fall through Winter, you will want to choose a squash that is heavy with few blemishes and moldy spots. Get out to your local farmers’ market and ask the grower to pick you out the best one for you.

You store Butternut Squash much differently than summer squash. Butternut squash can be stored longer than summer squashes because their skin is so hard and thick. Store in a cool dry place for at least a month. If the squash has been cut into pieces, then wrap in a plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 5 days.

I like to pair up Butternut Squash recipes with a Pinot Grigio or Chenin Blanc wine.
When it comes to cooking Butternut Squash you have many options: a gratin, soup, soufflé or even in stir-fry.

My favorite way to really cook a Butternut Squash though is in a soup. And, with the cold weather we have been experiencing lately in Missouri it’s soup time. Try this recipe for a little change at the dinner table.

Butternut Squash Soup
1/2 cup onions, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 cups chicken broth
1 pound butternut squash, pared, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 pears, pared and sliced
1 teaspoon fresh-snipped thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon coriander, ground
1 cup whipping cream

Cook and stir onion in margarine in 4-quart Dutch oven until tender. Stir in broth, squash, 2 sliced pears, thyme, salt, white pepper, and coriander. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer until squash is tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour about half of the soup into food processor work bowl fitted with steel blade or into blender container; cover and process until smooth. Repeat with remaining soup. Return to Dutch oven; stir in whipping cream. Heat, stirring frequently, until hot. Serve with sliced pear and pecans.

Source: Public domain recipes converted from Meal Master format.

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