Saturday, January 7, 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

I love this soup so much! It makes a large batch so you can eat off of it for a week or so, a PERFECT diet food! My kids even love it, and I am thrilled they are getting all that nutrition when they eat it! Butternut squash is the star in this soup, and your body loves it because it is not only high in fiber (your colon thanks you) and it helps you feel full (your waistline is now happy) but it is also high in beta cryptoxanthin (you don't have to spell it; just eat it) and vitamin C, two nutrients credited with helping save joints! The tomatoes, pears and garlic are loaded with antioxidants and immune system boosters, something we all need in these virus-ridden winter months! I came up with this recipe cause I really can't get enough butternut squash, please let me know what you think!

2 lbs cubed and peeled butternut squash (you can find this- organic and ready to go- at Costco)
2 pears, cubed
3 tomatoes, quartered and seeded
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half (and rinsed clean of sand)
3 garlic cloves
32 oz Chicken broth *
1 1/2 C Chardonnay (optional) *
kosher salt and pepper to taste
olive oil

1. You can get the butternut squash, cubed peeled and ORGANIC and ready to go at Costco for only $3.99 for a 2lb container. I cannot stress enough what a bargain this is! Find it in the vegetable "cold room". It looks like this:
2. When I talk about a quartered and seeded tomato, you cut each tomato into 4 equal parts, then cut out the seeds:
3. Cubing and dicing the pear is easy. Just cut the top and bottom off the pear and then cut it in quarters, then cut the seed part out, in the same way you would in cutting an apple. Then cut each slice into cubes:
4. A leek looks like a giant green onion. They are usually sold with 2 stalks in a bunch. This is perfect. Just cut the part of the stalk off that is super dark green, also cut off the bottom of the bulb that still has the root (just like a green onion) and then you are left with about a 2-3 inch stalk. Cut in half length wise and rinse the inside with water. Leeks absorb sand so you are rinsing out the sandy part. Pat dry with a paper towel and you're done! It takes 1 minute and you're cooking with real ingredients now!
5. Place all the veggies into a bowl (this includes the garlic cloves too.) Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Stir until all the veggies are coated!
6. Then, spread the veggies onto a baking sheet (or 2 depending on the size pan you have) in a single layer and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for about 45 min. Doesn't this look beautiful?
7. You will know when the veggies are roasted because the squash and pears have a crisp looking skin, but are still soft inside and the tomatoes look blistered. The leeks and garlic will look blistered and shriveled. Taste a squash- it should taste slightly sweet (the roasing process caramelizes the natural sugars in a food.) It will also make your kitchen/house smell amazing!
8. Let your veggies cool slightly and then pour them and the chicken broth into the super-megahorse-all powerful- blender that your husband got you for Christmas (thanks darling!) Blend up until smooth and then poor into a dutch oven or large pot. You may have to do the veggies and broth in several batches in your blender, depending on it's size! Then add about 1 1/2 C of Chardonnay. It can be cheap wine- nothing expensive. My fav cheap wine for cooking, and drinking, is Rex Goliath! You can play here. The wine is optional. If you don't add it, add more chicken broth. If you want more of the Chardonnay taste, add more. It's all up to you, you're the chef!
9. Bring to a slow simmer and let it go for about 20 min. Then serve! I like to eat mine with some Trader Joe's Jalapeno Hot Pepper Sauce on top. You can also add crumbled blue cheese, shredded gouda or shredded rotisserie chicken. Kids love, it, husbands love it and you can serve it to company and they will think you are awesome! Me? I just pour into a bowl, top with my hot sauce, and eat it with a glass of the Chardonnay curled up on the couch with a blanket with a good book and the fireplace on. Or, maybe I am just daydreaming again....