Sunday, November 13, 2011

Buttercup Squash Soup and Herb Butter, Check!

Behold, the Buttercup Squash!  They are not a figment of the recipe's imagination (who are you to deny the imaginings of recipes?); they actually exist, and this is what they look like.  They look so fabulous with my granite countertops that I was tempted to use them as accessories, but alas, I snatched up the only Buttercup squashes that I could find.


Bernie versus The Squash
Because my knives are dull (note to self: get them sharpened ASAP!), and because I hate messy prep work, and because Bernie enjoys hacking viciously away at innocent squashes with a dull knife, I got to take pictures while Bernie peeled the raw squash and cut it into 1" cubes.  I am not allowed to go behind him with a ruler, actually measuring the size of his squash cubes.  Not if I want him to continue helping with the cooking, anyway.

So anyway, the leeks and the squash get chopped up and put in a big stock pot, and you pour a little white wine and a lot of chicken stock over the vegetables, bring to a boil, and then simmer for 25 minutes until the squash is fork-tender.  Here's what my soup looked when it was done cooking, cooling on the stove:

Buttercup Squash and Leek Soup, Ready to Puree

The "cool for at least 15 minutes" step turns out to be important, by the way.  Trying to pour boiling hot soup with big, splashing vegetable chunks into a blender or a food processer is a terrific way to burn yourself and make a giant mess. 


Something seems not-quite-right with my blender lately, by the way.  It has a Burning Motor smell and makes an unpleasant screeching noise when we turn it on.  Also my dogs get upset and whine at the back door when the blender is turned on, begging to escape the house, as if they sense impending doom or something.  I would love to have an immersion blender like this one from Williams Sonoma for this task, so I could puree the soup right in the cooking pot without messing with the blender or the food processer, but it seems pricey for something I might only use once a year.  They say you can use it for smoothies and all kinds of things, but I don't make that many smoothies, either.  Back to the soup!


So, ta-da!  The soup is done and is waiting patiently in the freezer for its Thanksgiving Debut.  Yes, it looks like baby food, but it tastes really good, I promise!  I'll just move it to the fridge to defrost the day before, then reheat it on the stove and add some chives and a pat of herbed butter to each bowl just before serving.  Far from being bland, this soup gets a bit of a kick from white pepper.  Mmm!

Herb Butter for Soup and Turkey
Speaking of the herbed butter, that's the other cooking task we crossed off the list today.  The butter gets creamed together with minced shallots sauteed in sherry and fresh chives.  I cut little star shapes out of the herb butter and froze those separately so one can go on each serving of soup, but the rest of this concoction gets smeared all over Big Bird, in between the skin and the breast meat.  This makes for a moist, flavorful bird that tastes way too good for there to be any leftovers.  Like the soup, the herb butter can be made up to two weeks ahead of time and frozen.  However, in years past, the herb butter has not DEFROSTED as quickly as the recipe promises it will, so I'll be moving it to the fridge to defrost a bit earlier this year to reduce Thanksgiving morning panic.  There's nothing like trying to smear frozen butter under the skin of a cold, raw turkey.

Tomorrow I've got some work to do in the morning, but I'm hoping to sneak in enough time to make my spiced pecans and at least make the crust for that Crimson Appleberry Pie that we're auditioning this year.  Yes, auditioning -- Thanksgiving is THEATRICAL!  If you'd like to try your hand at this soup recipe, you can find it here on finecooking.com.  I just feel better knowing that, no matter what catastrophes might be lurking between today and the 24th, at least my guests won't starve on Thanksgiving Day now that there's soup in the freezer!

1 comment:

couturewindowfashions said...

This soup sounds yummy! I normally make a butternut squash and a potato leek, but I love the combination of my two favorites! The herb butter would be good for bay scallops too, as I have made it before ahead of time and then baked them with the butter on top! Mmmmmmmm, making me hungry girl :)

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