Autumn just came out of nowhere, both chronologically and atmospherically. I swear, it was May just a minute ago, and social media reminded me that this past Thursday, at 10:21 a.m., was the autumnal equinox. Two, I was walking around the Feast of San Gennaro in Little Italy on Thursday night, sweating in a pair of shorts at 8 p.m., enjoying the extension of summer weather.
Less than 48 hours later, I was tromping to the Inwood Greenmarket in leggings and a sweatshirt, teeth chattering a bit as the temperature hovered around 56°F at 9 a.m.
I love autumn. It’s my favorite season. However, when the temps take a drip quick, it’s more than I can handle sometimes. Yeah. I’m a big baby for a day or two, guilty as charged. Ha!
However, I welcome the return of my two favorite sub-seasons of autumn: oven season and soup season! Turning the oven on will no longer cause my apartment to swell to temperatures close to 95°F! Also, I will soon start making soups en masse and freezing them in my freezer for future work lunches. I can only hope my roommates forgive me for the amount of space I’ll be usurping soon. (Then again, after more than a year of living with me, I am sure they are used to me annexing our fridge and freezer with many of my culinary creations.)
Backtracking to my local greenmarket, the peaches and berries were sparser this morning while the fall squashes and gourds have been pushing their way through to the larger tables. Most of them were begging me to cook them. How could I deny their request to become my dinner?
Needing some greens, I could not help but buy some crisp kale before I headed back home.
And yes, I’ll be drinking some chardonnay along side it, thank you very much.
Butternut Squash Soup with Roasted Kale
(Serves 4 – 6)
– 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped, seeds removed or 20 ounces pre-cut butternut squash (I use Earthbound Farm Organic butternut squash)
– 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
– 1 carrot, chopped
– 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
– 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Macintosh, but a tart green apple also works well within this recipe)
– 3 cups broth / stock of choice
– 1 cup water
– 1/4 cup chardonnay (optional; I used the 2014 Chardonnay by Louis Jadot)
– Dash of grated nutmeg
– Salt and pepper, to taste
– 1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves cleaned and roughly torn
– 3 tablespoons olive oil
– Salt, to taste
Before We Get Started:
– The amount of roasted kale made will likely eclipse the amount you’d put on top of your soup. Leftover kale not used for garnish can be stored in an airtight container. (It makes for a great snack!)
– Keep this recipe vegan-friendly by replacing butter with oil and using a vegetable-based broth or stock.
1.) Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease or place parchment paper on a large baking sheet. Set aside.
2.) In a large heavy pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes. Add butternut squash, apple, broth, and water. Bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover pot and continue simmer for 30 minutes or until the vegetables and apples have softened; add chardonnay 20 minutes into simmering time.
3.) While the soup is simmering, prepare the kale: Add kale to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Thoroughly massage kale with olive oil. Toss with salt, to taste. Spread leaves out on baking sheets evenly; leave enough space around the leaves for them to bake and dry out. Place in oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes, or until dark green with roasted spots, but not completely brown! Remove from oven and allow to cool.
4.) Using an immersion blender, purée the soup inside of the pot; if you do not have an immersion blender, work in batches to purée the soup in a blender.
5.) Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with roasted kale.
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