My husband Chimp (that’s his longstanding ‘net name) asked if he could guest blog this week while I’m traveling for business. Why not? Due to my CFS, he’s cooked more dinners in the past two years than I have, though I’m still way ahead on the lifetime total. So here comes Chimp’s improvised butternut squash soup recipe from last week.
The nice thing about his improvised recipes is that he sometimes does something that would never have occurred to me that turns out wonderfully. Like this – I’ve added traditional warm spices and hot seasonings to squash soup in the past, but never five-spice powder; I just never thought of it. This will come out very thick – if you’d like it soupier, just add water. So here’s Chimp.
With your regular host on the road this week, I’m stepping in to fill your left-field vegetarian needs. No, I am not an actual chimp and no, I have not been hurling anything that I shouldn’t have been hurling before heading into the kitchen. Now let’s get to it. . .
Imagine you were blissfully married to someone, but that someone really loved butternut squash. That might not be so bad for some of us, but for others, squash makes the mouth go limp as does the body when bear-hugged as a child by distant relatives who smell of mothballs and calamine lotion. This calls for a plan.
The nice thing about butternut squash is that initial prep is pretty easy. (1) Turn oven on to 400 and insert squash. (2) Wait for length of two Simpsons reruns. (3) Remove from oven. It also keeps just fine till the next day, so one could put this in the oven while making something else one night, stow it in the fridge overnight and have the makings of soup the next night. Just remember to use it in a timely fashion, as the name would suggest.
Oil for the pan
2 cloves of garlic, very finely chopped
1 tsp. ginger, very finely chopped
1 tsp. Chinese Five Spice
2 red peppers, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 butternut squash, roasted about an hour and minus its skin and seeds
1/2 cup water or broth
salt and black pepper to taste (and I do mean a lot of both)
Heat the oil and the garlic and ginger for about a minute, stirring regularly. Toss the Five Spice and lots of black pepper in, then add the peppers and carrots. Sauté until tender.
Add the squash and the water or broth and let simmer for 10 minutes. Put the contents through a food processor or blender and return them to the pot. Add salt and let simmer another 10 minutes or so.
Serve in bowl to grateful spouse after long day at work.
What makes this is that the Five Spice and the black pepper are strong enough to give the squash a bit more bite without turning the soup into an excuse for too much hot stuff. (Some of us have been accused of this on other occasions.) The peppers seem to add just enough sweetness to wake the whole thing up without making it taste sugary. It worked for me.