This weekend was a busy one in my teeny kitchen. Here are a few things to make their way out of the oven:
- Butternut squash soup
- Balsamic caramel reduction (to serve on the soup)
- Cranberry-walnut salad with maple vinaigrette
- Roasted yams with brown butter
- Root vegetable soup
- Bittersweet chocolate and caramel truffles
- Roasted butternut squash
Whew! The veggie soup turned out particularly delicious, while the yams gave me some trouble – over-blending caused the puree to turn out a bit stiff, sadly – but all that cooking was enough to infuse our apartment with several delicious fall aromas, the reduction being the only exception: both the apartment and I smelled strongly of vinegar for a few hours after the syrup was finished, and Gunner had a nice little sneezing fit that caused him to rub his nose vigorously with one paw until the smell wore off a bit.
To keep things lively, here’s the recipe for the soup:
Root Vegetable Soup
Adapted from The Improvisational Cook, by Sally Schneider (I fiddled with this recipe quite a lot, so if it’s horrible, blame me, not Sally – the original is much more specific and calls for different ingredients and amounts – but this is the recipe for what I did today and it turned out lovely.)
- 4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes, cubed
- 1 medium celery root, peeled and cubed
- 1 large onion, peeled and diced
- 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 3-4 medium carrots, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil (I used butter)
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons Madiera wine (optional: I had some leftover from the balsamic caramel, so in it went. I’ve been creatively using up the rest of the bottle all weekend, since Mitch doesn’t care for it and I can’t drink any. The wine also found its way into the roasted squash.)
- 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, vegetable broth or water (I used chicken broth)
- A pinch of white pepper
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley (I didn’t have any on hand so I skipped this step, but I’d bet the parsley is really good.)
Braise the vegetables. In a large saucepan, combine the vegetables, garlic, salt, sugar, butter, wine (if desired) and water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes, or until the water has almost evaporated.
Add more liquid and simmer until tender. Add the chicken broth, return to a simmer, cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
Season and garnish. Adjust the seasoning and stir in white pepper to taste. Just before serving, stir in the parsley.