Kensington Kitchen’s prodigal daughter returned at 5pm that winter evening, bearing gifts from afar – holiday print clearance clothing, thrift store leather bags, even a fancy new phone. The sweet smells of roasting butternut squash and sautéing onion greeted her as she ascended the red staircase to the cozy attic apartment. The door was unlocked. She entered to find her love seated at the Kitchen table, working his creative magic in the steamy air. At the sight of such a hearty homemade feast, her heart leaped for joy. She was home at last.
Well, it didn’t quite go like that, but it is safe to say that it feels good to be home.
The best part of our little corner of the neighborhood is the fruit and vegetable markets, and this year – even in the heart of winter – our markets are overflowing with affordable, beautiful produce. How can a person not take advantage of $0.69/lb butternut squash and baskets full of $0.69/lb bell peppers? A week in the suburban world of supermarket produce sections huddled in the back corner of a store filled with chicken nuggets and Sprite (a yummy albeit unhealthy combination), makes me appreciate our European style of markets and grocery shopping even more.
Raphe remains the culinary master of the Kensington Kitchen and I plan to show off his winter vegetable creations as the days get colder. For now, I give you the roasted butternut squash soup he’s spent the autumn perfecting. He roasts the squash to give it a deep brown color and carmelized flavor, with ease of peeling as a bonus. He mashes the squash until smooth (much like mashed potatoes). He leaves the other vegetables chunky to give the soup the texture of a hearty beef stew, but finishes with cream and nutmeg to emphasis the natural sweetness of butternut squash. He doesn’t add any sugar or honey.
I can’t imagine anything I’d rather come home to.
- Yes. You should take the time to roast the squash. End of discussion.
- Condensed milk vs. cream. We’ve been out of town, so cleared our fridge of any dairy last week. Condensed milk is what we had on hand, and it works very well.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Vegetable Soup
Prep time: 45 minutes (includes roasting and cooling squash)
Cook time: 30 minutes
|Large butternut squash||I & D Interfoods|
|1 medium onion||I & D Interfoods|
|1 t garlic||I & D Interfoods|
|2 celery stalks||I & D Interfoods|
|2 carrots||I & D Interfoods|
|2 green bell peppers||I & D Interfoods|
|4 cups stock||Homemade|
|1 10oz can condensed milk||C-Town|
|Nutmeg to taste||I & D Interfoods|
|Parmesan Cheese (optional)||Trader Joes|
- Slice the squash into long quarters. Coat with oil, salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- While the squash cools, coarsely dice all other vegetables. Saute in oil in a large pot or dutch oven.
- Once the squash is cool enough to handle, peel the skin and mash the squash meat.
- Add squash and stock to the sautéed vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add condensed milk or cream and nutmeg to taste. Stir to combine. Puree if desired.
- Garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve with warm bread for dipping.