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Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash) For The Whole Winter

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With Halloween just ahead of us we can't help but have pumpkins on our mind.

Coming up soon with Thanksgiving pumpkin pie takes center stage for dessert. But dessert doesn't have to be the only course where pumpkin is served. You could dice up some pumpkin, sauté it in a little garlic infused extra virgin olive oil, let it come to room temperature and serve it on your salad.

Or you could make Pumpkin Soup. In making this soup I would generally not use pumpkins at all. I have found that butternut squash fits the bill quite nicely. The flavor is almost exactly the same, and edible butternut squash is much easier to come by than pumpkins that are grown exclusively to be eaten. Yes, that means most of the pumpkins we see in October are grown to be carved and not eaten.

Pumpkin, or butternut squash, is truly a fall ingredient. Rich in taste with a deep, satisfying flavor, easily combined with so many other wonderful ingredients and spices. All through the winter we can enjoy this flavor bonanza if we make a large batch and freeze what we don’t eat right away.

Tips on freezing:

When soup is finished allow to come to room temperature. Fill a couple of zip lock bags with ice cubes and place it in your hot soup. This will speed the process of lowering the temperature. When cooled, divide thesoup into your freezer containers. Since there are only two of us in the Chef Darrel household I divide mine into single and double servings. Refrigerate these overnight and then place in the freezer. Be sure you mark on the top of your containers what’s in it, and the date you made the soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 8

4          Tbl                   unsalted butter

1          medium           onion, small dice

2                                  leeks, white part only, cleaned and chopped

1          large                butternut squash, 2+ pounds

6          cups                 chicken broth

                                   Salt to taste

1/8       tsp                   fresh ground pepper

1/8       tsp                   ground cumin

1/4       tsp                   ground nutmeg 

1/4       cup                  heavy cream

1          Tbl                   brown sugar

2                                  green onions, minced for garnish

Sour cream for garnish

Preheat oven to 350

Cut squash in half lengthwise remove seeds. Rub a little oil on the cut part of the squash and place cut side down on foil lined baking pans, bake at 350 for about one hour. Remove from oven and allow to cool and using a large spoon scrape roasted flesh away from the skin.

Heat butter in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat, add onion and leeks, cook stirring frequently until softened and translucent, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Place onion mixture in a food processor, or blender, and purée with a little of the chicken broth. Do the same with the flesh of the roasted squash. Now combine all of the ingredients, except the garnish, into the Dutch oven and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes.

When ready to serve ladle into bowls, place a small dollop of sour cream in the center sprinkled with some minced green onion.

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