|Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Parmesan Crisps|
The days are shorter, the nights cooler, there is a nip in the air and the trees are showing their first signs of burnished gold. Although barbecue weather is still here my mind has already flipped over to comfort food, crackling fires and cozy blankets. When sick, or tired, or far from home, everyone seems to yearn for the gastronomic equivalent of a warm sweater, a kiss on the forehead, or a favourite blanket. Comfort foods nourish the soul as well as our bodies and tend to be familiar foods that remind us of simpler times or of a contented childhood. Just like the pending season your senses can be awakened with anything from a comforting caramelized squash soup like this to a large bowl of tantalizing macaroni and cheese. It is not uncommon for my home to be filled with warm, fragrant and earthy aromas of a slow cooked roast or bubbling crock pot. But soup was the order of the day.
With starting a new year long contract this past week I could really use some comfort food to warm my heart and keep me on a path to rejuvenation. It seems that each of the recipes I have been cooking this week require wine as a key ingredient. A little wine for the cook does a body good too...wink...wink.
- One 1 1/2-pound butternut squash
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 leeks, white parts only, coarsely diced (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 Spanish onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 4 celery ribs, finely diced
- 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- 1 parsnip, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
- 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Parmesan Croutons, for serving (recipe below)
2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy casserole, melt the butter in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderate heat. When the butter begins to brown, add the leeks and onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic in the last minute of sauteing. Add the potatoes, celery, carrots, parsnips, chicken stock, wine and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover partially and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Sixteen 1/2-inch-slices of baguette
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
You may recall that I did say that this week here at More Than Burnt Toast it would be Event Week. It just means that I have happily participated in several events around the blogosphere. This time around I am participating in my favourite vegetarian event No Croutons Required from my good friends Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes who blogs from Scotland and Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen from Ontario, Canada.
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