Saturday, November 29, 2008

Averting Meat Madness

Had enough turkey yet from the Thanksgiving throwdown? Maybe need a little protein break? Yeah, me neither! In fact I was just looking up recipes for this 5# hunk 'o pork shoulder that's calling my name. Like pork products are ever bad! But just in case OD'ing on meat may be your current state, relief is at hand. I have to share this recipe from the NYT's Health writer Martha Rose Shulman. I've found her stuff to be ever reliable (her caponata recipe is spectacular), and a few days ago, for a pre-Thanksgiving, post-standing rib roast dinner feast we had with friends, w was begging for something, anything, that was made from ingredients that weren't walking the earth, waiting their turn in my Le Creuset. I, like every other right minded eater, loves me some good butternut squash soup. It is one of the reasons that cold weather was invented, if I'm not mistaken. This version is awesome, with a nice added richness from the sweet potatoes and a health inducing, head snapping bite from the ginger (I bumped up her recommended dose of ginger by half). Silky textured after a spin in the blender, rich and creamy, you would never guess this has no cream or butter. Plus, this is one of the easiest soups you'll ever make, and it is vegetarian friendly. It coud also be made vegan friendly (Like I care. Vegans...don't you just want to wrestle their emaciated, protein deprived bodies down and stuff bacon into their mouths and watch their eyes do a guilty swoon of pleasure?!) if you use veggie stock.
I opened the newly released 2007 Patricia Green Cellars Sauvignon Blanc from Oregon, whose freshness and bright acidity played very nicely with the richness of the soup. By the way, 2007 was a great vintage for Oregon white wines. The best have beautifully ripe fruit paired perfectly with high acids from the cooler than usual growing season.
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Sweet Potato and Butternut Squash Soup
from the New York Times/Martha Rose Shulman

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium-size Yukon gold or russet potato, peeled and diced
6 cups chicken stock, or vegetable stock
Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and stir together until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the squash, sweet potatoes, regular potato, and water or stock, and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until all of the ingredients are thoroughly tender.

2. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or you can put it through the fine blade of a food mill or use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing). Return to the pot and stir with a whisk to even out the texture. Heat through, adjust salt and add pepper to taste.

Yield: Serves 6
Advance preparation: You can make this a day ahead and refrigerate. Reheat gently. The soup freezes well. Once thawed, whisk well to smooth out the texture, and reheat.

picture at top from the New York Times
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one year ago yesterday at E.D.T. : sweet and savory together with Apple-Fennel Soup and a fabulous Pumpkin Mousse!


Cory said...

I'm a longtime fan of Martha R-S, too. When I was pregnant I bought her "every woman's guide to eating during pregnancy", and unlike most of the crap out there in that genre, it's an excellent book that I still use (kids are on the outside now).

bb said...

Cory....I think most cookbooks written for a specific purpose, if they're really worthwhile, are multi-purpose. And I hope the kids enjoy the food as much on the outside as they did on the inside!!