Butternut squash puréeButternut squash purée

I intended to make butternut squash soup last night, but I ended up with a purée instead. This didn’t bother me, but I think Nathan might be worried about the state of dinner here on 11th Street, especially when I serve such meals with applesauce on the side! Sometimes you can barely tell two dishes apart.

To make this purée, I caramelized a few sliced onions in butter. While those were cooking, I peeled a small squash and simmered its seeds and fibers in chicken stock along with rosemary and garlic. I sautéed the chopped squash with the onions, and once it had caramelized, I strained the stock and poured it in. When the squash had softened, after just about ten minutes (during which time I was sautéing bacon), I ran the bubbling mess through the foodmill, added a couple tablespoons of crème fraîche, and sprinkled the crispy bacon on top.

There was nothing to dislike in this purée, but I was hoping that the sweetness of the squash would be more apparent. I always want things to be sweeter (not in a sugary way, but in their own natural way), and I’m trying to learn how to coax sweetness out of things without adding sugar to dinner. Using water instead of chicken broth would be a good place to start in a preparation such as this one, but don’t you think it’s hard to put water in something when the broth is sitting right there?

Do you have a good method for sweet, simple butternut squash soup?

Speaking of fall flavors, do yourselves a favor and check out Barletta’s post on gingersnaps. I can vouch for them, having once eaten about 18 in one sitting.


The Barefoot Contessa (as I am far from sophisticated when it comes to food I fear there might be a few groans coming from those with a more developed palate, but oh well) has a wonderful recipe for carmelized butternut squash, which I then usually puree. It’s far from healthy, as it involves tossing the squash in butter and a little brown sugar before roasting, but it is absolutely delicious. You could possibly work at adapting that method to a soup recipe if you are looking for more sweetness.

I agree with Carly — I’ve tried roasting squash with great success — it really caramelizes well, with no hands-on work so you can be cooking something else. There’s a recipe from Best American Recipes 2004-2005 that’s fabulous: peel and slice (from the solid neck only) 3/4in thick rounds. Brush with garlic olive oil, add salt, pepper and chopped fresh sage, then roast at 400F for 15 minutes. Loosen slices with a spatula but don’t turn them. Continue roasting for 5 minutes until squash is tender and bottoms are browned. I think that last time I roasted for about 30 minutes total.

I made a squash soup with beets (http://nomusing.blogspot.com/2006/11/squash-and-beet-soup.html) that’s incredibly sweet, enough so that I’ve been trying to make it less so. Of course, it doesn’t have any sort of pure squash flavor, but it has a beautiful bright red color.

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