Yesterday, as the rain was falling, I watched the leaves come down, like snowflakes, out my kitchen window. I was in a bit of autumn heaven. We are in deep Fall now, as I like to call it. Piles of leaves on the grass and the streets; trees with withered and dying leaves, waiting to be blown off by the wind or the rain; cool temperatures that bring the perfect breeze through our old creaky windows; and plenty of gloomy days that are lit up by pumpkin spice candles around our home.
At the same time that all this beauty was surrounding me, our whole family is fighting the first cold of the season. I’ve had a butternut squash in the farmer’s basket for a couple of weeks now and I figured it was the perfect day to make a batch of a warm comforting soup.
In past years, I have made different renditions of this soup, however, yesterday I tried one with roasted garlic as a primary component. It comes from Donna Hay’s cookbook that I got for Christmas last year, and is one of my special cookbooks. I don’t write in this one, it’s just too pretty. As I’ve said before her work is stunning, and I could get lost in her books and magazines and really anything she does for hours. After all, I have plastered my kitchen walls with photos from her publications. (Basically, if I lived in Australia I would want to work for her.) I love that her recipes are simple, use common ingredients, are easy to adapt, and are always delicious.
If you have a butternut squash lying around, waiting to be roasted, give this a try. You can even add a dollop of sour cream with fresh tarragon on top. It is amazing.
ROASTED GARLIC AND PUMPKIN SOUP. (adapted from Donna Hay: The New Classics)
1 good size butternut squash, halved or quartered, seeded
1 small (or ½ of a large) sweet onion, halved
1 head garlic
½ tsp. dried sage
3 cups water
½ cup heavy cream
¾ teaspoon nutmeg (add more for your taste)
Freshly cracked black pepper + sea salt, to taste
Drizzle of olive oil, or 1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves mixed into 1 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 400° F (200°C). Place butternut squash, onion, and head of garlic onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the sage, some freshly cracked pepper, and sea salt and toss together with your hands to evenly coat all the veg. Roast for 45-55 minutes, until the squash is cooked through. Allow to cool slightly, and scoop out the flesh of the squash, and onion from their skins and place into a food processor. Squeeze out the garlic from their skins, that should be like a paste now, and add to the food processor. (TIP for releasing garlic: once cooled, take the whole head and smash it between a large sheet of parchment, folded in half, with your hand or a rolling pin, and it releases the paste much easier.) Add 1 cup of water and process until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a medium size pot, add the remaining 2 cups water, heavy cream, nutmeg, and salt + pepper, and cook over medium heat until the soup is heated through. Enjoy immediately!