Friday, December 10, 2010

No Posts for a While

My family has been down and out with a yucky stomach bug, so I won't be posting for at least a few more days. Please stay with me readers. I promise I'll be back.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Many, Many Butternuts...

In October I blogged about the 35 butternut squashes we harvested from our scrappy squash and melon patch. Then, Mrs. CM posted an artful photo of one of our butternuts.

Today, I decided I should share one of our favorite squash recipes: Curried Pumpkin Soup. The recipe calls for pumpkin, but most winter squashes can be substituted. I made a delicious triple batch for Thanksgiving using one of our squashes and froze the extra.

Curried Pumpkin Soup
Yield: 6 servings

1 Large onion, chopped or sliced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups pureed pumpkin* or 1- 16 oz. can pumpkin
3 cups chicken stock (I use veggie stock)
1 potato, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup half and half (I use 1/4 cup light cream and 1/2 cup skim milk)
Worcestershire or Tabasco sauce to taste
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Saute onion in olive oil in 2 qt. sauce pan until tender. Add pumpkin, chicken stock, potato, curry powder and nutmeg. Mix well. Cook over low heat until potato is tender.
  2. Process several times in a blender. (Or use a stick blender like I do). Add cream, Worcestershire sauce , salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through.
  3. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a sprinkle of ground nutmeg.
This recipe comes from Global Feast Cookbook published by Mystic Seaport Museum Stores.

*Here's the easiest way to get fresh pumpkin or squash puree:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the squash in an ovenproof dish and cover it tightly with a lid or aluminum foil.
  3. Bake until tender, about 1 hour for a 1 pound squash. To test for done-ness, slide a sharp knife into the skin. If it slides in easily, it's done.  If the squash feel firm at all, keep cooking. Tip: On a butternut, the wide end cooks faster than the skinny end.
  4. Let it cool. Then slice the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds and any stringy pulp and discard (or put it in the compost). Scoop the lovely orange flesh from the skins and fork mash, if needed before using in the recipe.
There are some natural places for kids to help with this recipe. Most kids can scoop the pulp and place it in a bowl as long as the squash is sufficiently cooled. Now that my daughter is 5, she has graduated to sauteing like her big brother. With close supervision, many kids aged 5 and up can handle this. Prop them up on a stool or chair and give them some safety directions before starting. My 8 year old son is good at measuring ingredients, though my daughter still needs someone to pre-measure for her and then she adds the ingredients. My daughter is also learning how to chop vegetables using a small sharp knife. Start cooking with your kids when they are young and gradually introduce new skills as they are mature enough to handle them.

Cooking with your kids has many benefits such as building math skills (fractions, measuring) and life skills. More importantly, they get to spend time in the kitchen with you and will probably want to eat what they cooked.

In the coming weeks, I'll share more squash recipes with you. (We still have lots of squash to eat!) My sister recently got us making butternut squash oven fries. Stay tuned!

Do you have a favorite squash or pumpkin recipe you'd like to share? How about a recipe involving another fall/winter crop?