Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday night dinner

Pre-jack, I bought most of our groceries at Andronico's and Rainbow. Now, it's much easier to make one big weekly shopping trip to Trader Joe's. I buy many convenience foods there, and these help me to cook dinner quickly -- essential when there's a toddler begging for attention at 5 p.m.

Every ingredient for this soup was bought at Trader Joe's. Of course, it can be replicated with food purchased anywhere else. I do support shopping locally, and look forward to doing so once Jack is a bit more independent.

Butternut squash bisque
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash cubes
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 sprig fresh sage
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
a few grinds of pepper
4 cups stock (any kind, it's really good with turkey stock)
1/2 cup heavy cream (can skip if you're counting calories)

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) In a bowl, toss together the squash, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour out onto a sheet pan with low sides (like a cookie sheet).
3) Roast for 1 hour, stirring once after about 40 minutes.
4) Remove pan from oven and dump contents into a soup pot or large saucepan.
5) Add stock, bring to a boil, then simmer for about an hour.
6) Allow to cool, fish out sage stem and leaves and discard them, then puree the soup in blender.
7) Return soup to pan, warm until hot, then remove from heat and stir in cream.

One great thing about this recipe is there are several points at which you can stop and throw everything in the fridge. Then resume cooking when you are able. I make most of it when Jack is napping, then finish it at dinner time.

Garnish the soup, if you like, with crumbled blue cheese, toasted pecans, and/or pomegranate seeds.

You can also reduce this soup to a sauce -- simmer at low heat for about 30 minutes more, and toss with cooked noodles of your choice. Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

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