November 12, 2011
After a recent pizza party, I ended up with a surfeit of goat cheese in my fridge. One of the many distinct advantages to hosting a pizza party is that when everyone goes home, you’re left with a staggering amount of leftover unused toppings. All the chopped onion, roasted red peppers, smoked and cured meat, and cheese make for fabulous frittatas in the week or so after a party, but then there are the matters of all those little logs of chevre. Those, combined with the two butternut squash I’d received in my final CSA pickup of the season, inspired this recipe.
You see a lot of curried squash soups this time of year, and I wanted to do something that was perhaps a little less common – this soup takes more of a Provençal tack – we’ve got thyme, basil, and red pepper as contributing flavors, with a big ol’ hunk of goat cheese stirred right in. For sweetness, two apples.
This soup is so simple to make, it’s almost harder to recite the first three letters of the alphabet in an endless mantra for 45 minutes than it is to make it. That’s why I’ve dubbed it:
A tasty autumnal potage!
You will need:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 butternut squash
- 2 large apples, of the crisp and sweet variety
- 4 cups water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1 4-oz log of goat cheese
You’ll also need:
- A large soup pot
- an immersion blender (or a regular blender)
1. Do your mise-en-place: peel and chop your butternut squash into one-inch chunks, chop (but don’t peel) your apples, chop your onions and garlic, and get crackin!
2. In a large soup pot, melt the butter along with the olive oil, and sauté the onion and garlic until brown – about seven minutes.
3. Dump in the apples and the squash, and add the seasonings – cook over medium heat for ten minutes.
4. Add the stock or water, bring the pot’s contents to a boil, and reduce the heat – simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apple are soft.
5. Kill the heat, and either A) blend with an immersion/stick blender, or B) remove the pot’s contents with a slotted spoon to a standup blender and blend, using as much of the stock as you require, until smooth.
7. Return the soup to the heat and simmer until thickened – another 30 minutes.
8. When the soup is thickened, it’s almost ready to serve – you may choose to either drop in the log of goat cheese, like I did, or crumble it up and sprinkle it over each individual serving portion. Individual-serving crumbles have a more pronounced goat cheese flavor, of course, but it’s sort of pleasant to have the other flavors predominate, too, and let the goat cheese sort of hang out in the background.
Enjoy! I liken this soup to takin’ a warm bath. A warm bath in butter and thyme. Eat this and pretend to be a French stew, or something.