This recipe is a prime example of how hectic things have been in the Foodie kitchen. I started this post back in early November of 2012. That’s right, 2012. Since then, I’ve made it a handful of times including this Thanksgiving to rave family reviews, and many a request for the recipe. “Don’t worry, I’ll blog about it”, was my answer. Well maybe they should worry, because the people I told that to last year have sure been waiting a long time. What’s going on with the unceremoniously unsexy soup photo on the right? Apparently, I never took a photo of the final product. So I decided to still use this photo in the post, otherwise you’d be waiting yet another year for the recipe. So to fill you in on what has been keeping me busy these days, I’ve put together a Q&A with myself.
The Top 5 Foodie Questions as of recent
Q- “So what’s new in your life?”
A- “A career, mostly.”
Q-“Why aren’t you posting as much anymore?”
A-“I spend my spare hours trying to incorporate yellow into my new work attire.”
Q-“Yellow?! Why?! How’s that going?”
A- “It’s complicated, really. We aren’t talking about a mild butter yellow color here. It’s the kind of yellow you wear when you run at night so you don’t get hit by a car. I just doesn’t go with everything. Well, anything other than black.”
Q-“What’s new in your CSA basket this week?”
A- “Nothing. While I’ve been busy my farmers retired and left me with an acre farm. I tried to harvest it, but quickly realized I’m too high-maintenance for stinging nettle. It was also doing very little for the long-term maintenance of my Melissa 2-button Fryes.”
Q- “The farmers left? To do what?!”
A-” To travel and work at a campground. I guess these days everyone’s leaving their job to work at a campground. Who knew?”
Butternut Squash and Leek Soup
The hardest part about making this soup is cutting the squash into cubes. If you don’t have a very sharp knife buy the pre-cut squash in the store.
5 lbs butternut squash (if using whole) if pre-cut 3.5lb is adequate
2 lbs leeks, rinsed thoroughly
4 quarts of chicken or vegetable stock (your preference)
1 jar Classico Light Alfredo sauce
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 box of Jiffy or Traders Joe’s cornbread mix
Equipment– Stockpot or dutch oven, 8-in square baking pan, and immersion blender* (see note below), blender or food processor, large very sharp knife.
For the croutons– Follow package directions, for easier cutting use an 8-in square pan and make 2-3 days ahead. If short on time you can make it the day of but make sure you give it plenty of time to cool. Increase toasting time by 10 minutes. The day of serving I cut the cornbread into 1-in squares. Heat the oven to 300 degrees. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with oil or Pam. Place the cut cornbread on the pan and toast until dark golden and crisp, about 30 minutes.
For the soup– To cut the whole squash into cubes, peel the squash and cut in half lengthwise. Then remove the seeds. Chop into 1-inch cubes. You can do these several days in advance and store in ziploc bags. To slice and clean the leeks, chop off the end and the hard dark green parts. Thinly slice and put in a bowl of cold water to get out any remaining sand and dirt. If storing to use at a later date let air dry.
In a large stockpot or dutch oven, saute the cubed butternut squash and leeks with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Cook over medium heat until squash is soft and can be easily pierced with a knife. Then add 4 qts stock and adjust to medium high heat and bring to a boil. Once the soup boils, return to simmer and either 1. insert immersion blender and blend until smooth and creamy or 2. wait for the soup to slightly cool, try to figure out the best and least messy way to transfer all that soup in batches to the food processor or regular blender and pray you don’t scald yourself in the process or 3. turn the stove off and go buy an immersion blender. You’ll thank me.
Once the soup is blended, add the entire jar of Classico Light Alfredo. It may sound like cheating but it adds a brilliant amount of creamy flavor in 5 seconds flat. I suspect it’s the reason this soup gets so many recipe requests. Stir in 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg and simmer until service.
*I use a Bamix immersion blender. I have also used Viking and it works quite well. If you ever intend to make blended soups with any regularity this is a great tool to have. You only need your regular blender to explode hot soup all over your kitchen once to be seriously injured and or permanently ticked off. In case I still haven’t sold you on this tool, I also use it to quickly thicken up stews, coq au vin etc. Also, Hubs uses it daily for his morning workout shakes ever since I threw out his magic bullet. But, that’s a touchy subject, so please don’t mention it.