Believe it or not, we are preparing for our first frost of the season. Wednesday night is supposed to get down to 32! Brr!!
As such, I thought it was time to start making soup. Because it is harvest season, I thought I would introduce a butternut squash and apple soup. It has two components, so this post will have two recipes.
4-5 chicken necks (find a butcher in your area and put in an order. They’re very helpful in finding bones for stock)
3 chicken backs
2 medium carrots
15 whole black peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves
Remove as much fat from the chicken bones as possible. Don’t worry about getting it all; you’ll skim off the remaining fat before the stock is finished. Place the bones in a 375F preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. This allows the bones/meat to caramelize, increasing it’s flavor. While the bones are baking, chop the vegetables. Since they’ll be discarded after flavoring the stock, they don’t need to be bite-sized: quarter the onions or cut them in large chunks. Place the bones and all other ingredients in a large stockpot and add water to cover. Bring the water to a near-boil, and immediately reduce the heat to low. Cooking at a low simmer ensures a clear golden stock. After an hour or so, check the simmering stock: a layer of fat will have risen to the surface. Use a ladle or skimmer to strain off the fat. Let simmer for 4-8 hours. Continue to skim off any fat that surfaces. Once finished, remove the large pieces of bones/meat and vegetables. First strain through a colander. Then strain through cheesecloth. The finished stock should be clear. You can freeze the stock or can using a pressure cooker. A 6 qt stock pot produces 3 quarts of stock.
Butternut squash and apple soup
1 sm. butternut squash (about 1 lb.)
2 tart green apples
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary or 1 sprig fresh rosemary
1/4 tsp. dried marjoram or 1 sprig fresh marjoram
3 cans chicken broth
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 med. onion
1 tsp. salt
Cream or half and half
Peel and cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel, core and chop the apples. Chop the onions. In a large saucepan combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil, simmer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Puree in blender until smooth. Do this in several batches. Return mixture to saucepan and bring to a boil. Serve hot and garnish each serving with cinnamon, chopped parsley, or cream.
Serves: 4 (2 cup servings)