Monday, December 6, 2010

Butternut Squash and Ale Soup

This is one my my favorite "it's the beginning of soup season" soups.  I have made it every year for numerous years, until last year.  I mentioned the title to Bo, and my "I eat most anything" husband turned up his nose, so I didn't make it.  So this year the urge was even stronger and I decided I was gong to make it and see what happened.  And do you know what happened?  He loved it!  The moral?  Don't mention ahead of time when you make something new.  Sometimes the title will put a negative picture in the brain.  Just make and serve it!

Lesson over, the recipe you see below is a half of a recipe.  Simply double the ingredients if you want more.  This soup is a perfect blend of  beer and cheese with the butternut squash adding a dimension you won't find from a restaurant soup.  I didn't have any notes on the kind of beer I have used in the past and I would definitely use a brown ale of some sort!  And one final note, I did a very un-foodie thing.  I used frozen winter squash instead of doing the roasting, scooping thing.  Oh, ans PUHLEASE shred or grate your own cheese.  It really makes a difference in the texture!

Butternut Squash and Ale Soup

1 12 oz box frozen squash
1/2 head of roasted garlic (optional)
1 T olive oil
1/2 cup Spanish onions, finely diced
2 cups chicken stock 
1/3-1/2 cup half and half  (Tip bring the half and half to room temp before using - it will blend better.)
1/2- 1 cup grated aged farmhouse sharp cheddar 
1/2 12-oz bottle good quality brown ale
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat oil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add onion and cook for 3 minutes or until transparent. Add butternut squash and stock and garlic - bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes. 

2. Remove from boil and cool a bit.  Add cream and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and then, while whisking, add cheddar cheese and whisk until melted. Add ale to taste. Stir together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Chopped green onions are a great garnish, tobasco is fabulous if you like it hot, and sourdough bread is a perfect accompaniment. 

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