Oh Fall. Crisp air, cute clothes, and of course, comfort food. Now is about the time that the farmer's markets are flooded with pumpkins and squashes, and pretty much every root vegetable imaginable, so it's no surprise that this month Kim and I decided to pick a very fall vegetable as our inspiration. (I went with an acorn squash because I think they are pretty and knew that it would be sitting out on my counter until I finally got around to making something from it. Two points for instant fall decorating in the kitchen!)
hello beautiful squash via courtney khail
But let's get back to the comfort food. Something about cooler weather makes me crave hearty dishes. Ones that involve roasting, baking spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc.) and wilted leafy greens. Oh and cheese. Scratch that. I crave cheese all year round. But mostly, dishes that fill your home with amazing scents and make you feel like you're embraced. (Am I the only one who feels like certain foods just hug you with warmth?) And that's exactly the feeling I wanted this dish to have.
This dish is super simple to make. The hardest part is actually cutting the squash (it's dense like a pumpkin) but the rest is as easy as boiling water. All you do is roast and cube the squash, crisp some bacon (though sausage, chicken, or pretty much anything else would work,) brown some butter, and then add things that sound good to you (I used spinach to bring in some greens.) I was also going to top it with lightly toasted acorn squash seeds, but well, I got caught up with some show and burned mine. Whoops. After all that, you just serve it over pasta and top with pepper and cheese. No need to measure anything out really- just add what looks right to you. Our house loves bacon so I upped that, but if you're more of a veggie person- add more vegetables. You could even throw on some toasted walnuts or something delicious like that. Whatever you do, don't over think it. Cooking should be fun, right?
Anyhow. Enough with the talking. Here are the recipes- (If you want to see my dish, it's up on my instagram account. Follow me at @ckhail)
and kim's soup! Make sure you head over to her site to see more as well.
Butternut Squash Soup
Vegetable oil spray
1 2-pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1 cup milk or half-and-half
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with the vegetable oil spray.
Place the squash halves, cut side down, in the prepared dish. Pierce the skin sides several times with a fork. Bake until the squash is tender, about 45 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
Using a large spoon, scrape the flesh from the cooked squash into a food processor. Discard the skins. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chicken broth, the cinnamon, marjoram, thyme, and nutmeg and puree until smooth. Transfer the puree to a large saucepan. Whisk the milk into the soup over medium heat. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add the remaining broth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.