Thursday, January 13, 2005


Eh. This is, I think, the second time I’ve made this recipe, and it had been a long time since the first time, so I was doing a check to make sure I really liked it enough to make it worthy of inclusion in my recipe book. Everything seemed so good in theory. I’d spent the better part of the day—Sunday, this was—making homemade chicken stock, which should have boosted everything up a notch, flavorwise. And cashews are delicious, and squash and butter and cinnamon and brown sugar all go together very well, but—eh. A and I were underwhelmed. The flavors went together so well they sort of just became one big flavor, one big sweet flavor, and although adding more salt and pepper helped, it just wasn’t enough. The soup wasn’t unpleasant, just blah. I think I’ll yank it from my recipe book, but I felt like I should post it anyway, because (a) then if I change my mind and want it later it’ll still be floating around in cyberspace, and (b) maybe someone else will try it and like it. I think I should only be not posting recipes here if they’re so incredibly bad that I want everyone to stay away from them, and even then a disastrous cooking story is always fun to tell, so who knows. But I feel a little bad for this one and kind of want it to find a home somewhere else, because it is healthy and easy to make, but just needs a little help. Maybe someone can fix it and nurse it back to health? Meanwhile, I think I’ll go looking for a different butternut squash soup recipe.

I served this with Cheesy Bread (French bread sliced lengthwise and sprinkled with shredded Cheddar, then toasted lightly under the broiler) and a green salad, both of which I enjoyed more than the soup itself. But we were watching the premiere of 24, so that made everything better.

1 butternut squash
1⁄2 cup salted cashews
2-4 cups stock
5 dashes nutmeg
2-3 dashes cinnamon
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim the ends from the squash, cut the squash into quarters, scoop out the seeds, and bake or microwave it until tender. (The recipe is really this vague; after consulting a baked butternut squash recipe in one of my cookbooks--as always, thanks, Jack Bishop--I preheated the oven to 450, placed the squash quarters in a lightly oiled Pyrex baking dish, covered the dish with tin foil, and baked for maybe 45 minutes. The squash came out quite tender, all the better for pureeing.)

2. When the squash has cooled slightly, scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Put half the squash flesh in the blender with 1-2 cups of chicken stock (just eyeball it based on the consistency you like) and half the cashews, and puree this until it's very smooth. Pour the soup out into a saucepan, then repeat with the remaining squash, 1-2 cups broth as needed, and cashews. Puree this and add it to the saucepan.

3. Season the soup with the nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, butter, salt, and pepper and heat it on medium-high heat until it just begins to bubble, then serve.

Serves: 4-6
Time: 60-90 minutes, but most of that is squash-baking time

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