Monday, November 30, 2015

Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger

While shopping for Thanksgiving, I ended up buying far more food than I could possibly cook. I wanted to have a huge variety of side dishes, but then I found that my stamina wasn't up to the level necessary to make a Turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, Brussels sprouts, onions, butternut squash, sweet potato, and pumpkin pie. That's a bit much for one person to undertake, especially when my husband had no interest in the sprouts, squash, or yams.

The answer to cramming in more of the foods I wanted was to combine some of them in soup and The New York Times recipe for sweet potato and butternut squash soup with ginger fit the bill. The best part was that I could do it ahead and freeze the soup for later. The second best part was that it included real ginger root. I've always felt that ginger is under-used in savory cuisine in America and hoped it would bring something special to this soup.

I followed the ingredients list fairly faithfully including weighing the squash and sweet potatoes. The only thing I may have done "wrong" was use too much onion because my idea of "medium" is different perhaps than others after years of buying enormous monster onions in gargantuan bags at Costco.

Though I followed the ingredients list pretty closely, I made the soup in an electronic pressure cooker in order to save time and effort. I browned the onions and ginger first then added in the potatoes, stock, and squash. I make nearly all of my soup in the pressure cooker and have never found that the flavor suffers for it, especially when it comes to soup which is pureed with an immersion blender. My soup looked like this:

This is a time when my result looked nearly identical to the picture on the recipe. Mine looks slightly darker, but I think that is a lighting difference since I decided after tasting to add a small splash (about 1/4 cup) of half and half to mellow out the onion flavor that was lurking in the background. After doing that, all of the flavors seemed to come together and the soup, which was thick and somewhat sludgy in appearance until I added the half and half. That seemed to make it come together more smoothly. I didn't use much fat initially and my guess is the half and half emulsified the soup and made it smoother.

As soup recipes go, this one is a winner provided that you like the flavors of the components. It has a multi-layered and complex flavor that has a richness and a sweetness as well as a savory nature from the stock. I will definitely make this one again. 

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