Saturday, November 1, 2008

Roast Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Garam Masala

Ladies and gentleman hope you all had a lovely Halloween. Due to Esi laying in bed all day, we are interrupting our regular programming to welcome the lovely and talented guest blogger JenFinn. For her first entry she made Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Garam Masala and paired it with Walnut Sour Cherry Crackers (which this host helped with...kind of). And now, a round of applause.

Roast Butternut Squash Soup with Apples and Garam Masala
(From Cooking Light November 2008)

Yield: 10 servings (of about 3/4 cup)

8 cups (1-in)cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2 medium)
3 tbsp canola oil, divided
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/4 tsp garam masala (I found it in the spice aisle at a major grocery store)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
4 cups Braeburn apple (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup dry white wine
3 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp half-and-half

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine squash, 2 tbsp oil, syrup, garam masala, salt and pepper. Arrange squash mixture on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. (I didn't have a jelly-roll pan, so I used a cookie sheet and that was fine). Bake at 400 for 45 min or until squash is tender.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots to pan; saute 2 min or until tender. Stir in apple; saute 4 min or until tender. Stir in wine; cook 1 min. Stir in squash mixture, 3 cups water, and broth. Bring to a simmer and cook 3 min.

Place half of squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids. Repeat procedure with remaining squash mixture. Stir in half-and-half.

Thoughts: The result is a beautiful, velvety and very filling fall soup. The apples add a delightful sweetness and thick texture.

Walnut Sour Cherry Crackers

Makes about 72 pieces

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup spelt flour or whole wheat flour
1 tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp liquid honey
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried sour cherries
1/4 cup flax seeds

In bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, spelt flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir in butter and honey; stir in buttermilk. Add walnuts, cherries and flax seeds; stir to combine. Scrape into greased 9-by-5 inch loaf pan, smoothing top.

Bake in 375 degree oven until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until semi-solid, about 2 hours. (Make ahead: Overwrap in foil and freeze for up to 10 days, partially thaw to continue.)

With a serrated knife, cut into 1/8-inch thick slices. Cut in half crosswise and arrange on 2 baking sheets. Bake in top and bottom thirds of 300 degree oven, rotating and switching pans and turning crackers over halfway through, until browned and crisp, about 30 minutes. Let cool on pans on rack. (Make ahead: Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.)

Notes: I couldn't find flax seeds, so I used, upon the lovely Esi's recommendation, raw pepitas. That turned out well. I've been known to spend 8-10 bucks on a pack of gourmet crackers before, so this is a *much* cheaper way of indulging my cracker obsession!! I imagine if you lightly spray the sliced crackers with cooking spray and then sprinkle some rock sugar over them before popping them in the oven, you can turn them into a sweeter dessert cracker. Also, I was pretty liberal with the cherries... the more the better!!

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Heather said...

ohhhhh!!! those crackers look SO GOOD! Yum!!! I love butternut squash soup. it is so good :)

Alicia Foodycat said...

I hope Esi is lying in bed all day with someone nice!

Lovely soup!

Paula said...

Uh oh, I hope Esi is ok. This is a lovely soup, and those crackers sound terrific. I'm a big soup eater, and this soup sounds really flavorful and I would enjoy every spoonful!

Anonymous said...

This soup looks fantastic. My husband was just begging for a squash soup. And once he gets something on his mind, he never lets go. I will show him this and I am sure we will have to make this in a day or two.

test it comm said...

What a tasty sounding butternut squash soup!

Unknown said...

Mmmm, delish!

RecipeGirl said...

Ha! You made it too :) We loved this- I agree, filling and delicious. My blog will post it on the 5th!