Here’s a delicious soup I prepared for lunch with friends the other day. It’s a slow cooker recipe from the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. I love their recipes because they test the living daylights out of everything to make sure they’ve created really yummy dishes.
Butternut Squash Chowder
6 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme or 3/4 tsp. dried
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup flour
4 c. chicken broth
3 c. vegetable broth
3 lb. butternut squash, (8 c.) peeled, seeded, cut into 1/2 ” pieces
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
salt and pepper
8 oz. kale, stemmed, leaves sliced into 1/4 ” strips
1/2 c. heavy cream
1 tbsp. fresh sage, minced (optional)
1 tsp. brown sugar
grated Parmesan cheese
Cook bacon in 12″ skillet over med. high heat until crisp. Stir in onion, garlic, thyme and nutmeg and cook until onion is lightly browned. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in 2 c. chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
That’s right. You heard me – kabocha squash. Until I read the name of this squash last month on Karista’s Kitchen blog, I had never heard of a kabocha squash. I thought I’d never find anything so exotic in Calgary, but lo and behold – I found it in several grocery stores. Didn’t even have to go anywhere special. I don’t think I’ve ever tried a variety of squash that I didn’t like, so obviously I had to buy some kabocha and try this simple recipe.
You start by roasting the squash and scraping the pulp out of the skin. I noticed immediately that the texture was dense and dry – in a good way. Some squashes seem to have a more juicy texture. This was packed with flavor. The color was gorgeous, raw and cooked. I forgot to take photos of the squashes before I cut them, but the color only changed slightly in cooking. Here’s the recipe the way I did it.
Fresh corn on the cob has been available in our grocery store recently. I don’t know where it comes from, because it certainly can’t be local, but throwing caution to the wind, we decided to give it a try. Unexpectedly, it was delicious. Good enough that I wanted to find a chowder recipe that used fresh corn. Searching the internet turned up numerous variations that appealed to me. I started with a recipe from Cooks Illustrated, and tweaked it to match what I had on hand.
This is what the corn looks like to begin with, after cutting off kernels, and after scraping with a dull knife. This is Peaches and Cream corn – yellow and white kernels. I should mention that this corn cutting and scraping is a tad messy. There was corn juice splattered all over the counter, the window ledge, the window, the sink (I tried to contain some of the spray by working in the sink – not totally successful) and of course, my glasses! In good weather, I would move this outside. Then I could just hose down the work area.
My friend from Toronto, Pam, sent me a package of printed material designed to entice me to visit her fair city. It might just work. But in the meantime, as I was going through the magazines, I found this recipe for a soup that looked delicious. Turns out it is delicious.