Sunny Slope Orchard

Sunny Slope Orchard
In the coast range foothills overlooking the Sacramento Valley

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The first rainy days, it's time for soup!

The first rains of fall delivered many pleasures, freshly-washed air and gorgeous clouds among them. The trees appreciated the shower; their leaves immediately perked up and absorbed the moisture. Our soil is now soft underfoot and the dried leaves and grasses are quiet too, no longer crunching underfoot. We now turn our thoughts to planting the winter cover crop in the orchard. If there is a good dry spell this weekend we'll have our chance.
Meanwhile, we have a new recipe to share. Our neighbor Judy gave us a butternut squash from her garden. We had apples from Bill’s mother in Mendocino County and some onions from our garden. The result was a smooth and hearty soup, perfect for autumn.

Curried Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Put a large roasting pan on the lower middle rack and pre-heat it too.

Roasting Ingredients, group 1:
  • Butternut squash, about 2 pounds, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ½ -inch chunks
  • 2 medium size onions (or 3 shallots) peeled and quartered
  • Golden delicious apples, 1 pound, peeled, quartered then chopped in half
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ tsp. salt (or less)
  • ¼ tsp. pepper (or to taste)
Put all the above in a large bowl and toss. Put this mixture into the pre-heated roasting pan, spreading it out evenly.  Roast it until the squash is soft and slightly brown, probably 50 to 60 minutes. Stir the mixture halfway through the roasting time.

Soup Ingredients, group 2
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • 1 Tbsp. Maple syrup
  • ½ tsp. curry powder
When the roasting pan comes out of the oven, add about ½ cup of the broth to the pan, then scrape up the brown bits off the bottom; add a little more broth if needed to get the bottom clean. Return pan to the oven for a few more minutes if there is still liquid visible. Otherwise, turn off the oven and get out the blender.

Combine the broth, water, and the roasted mixture in the blender until smooth, working in two or three small batches. Put everything in a Dutch oven or soup pot and add the syrup, half-and-half, and curry powder. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Heat gently until hot enough to serve.

Recipe taken from America’s Test Kitchen Light & Healthy 2010, pp. 38-39