Butternut Squash Soup

Miller Lane in Hereford, Maryland

“The sun’ll come out…next Thursday.”  That was the weatherman’s snide remark on the radio the other morning as my windshield wipers swished away.  (And the song from the musical Annie is still stuck in my head.)  By Saturday I am finally able to sit out on the café porch, surrounded by deep green leaves backlit by patches of chartreuse where the September sunlight filters through the trees.  Hints of yellow and orange emerge in the foliage.  Dogwood trees present their bright red berries for the doves.  Nearby in the woods, a young deer nibbles contentedly, too naive to be afraid of the humans.

Wet brown leaves stick to the porch.  A mustiness is in the air.  Somehow, the musty smell pairs well with my snack of apple cider and cheddar cheese.  Crickets drone.  Cars whoosh on the highway.  White noise.  This is the moment to let the week roll off my shoulders.

Out in the garden, the late-starting volunteer cherry tomato plant is loaded with tomatoes.  Three of them have actually managed to ripen in limited sunshine.  Garlic chives have bloomed and faded and now threaten to cast seeds everywhere.  Out come the scissors to snip away the flowers.  I harvest the chives in order to find the rosemary and sage.  Fennel seeds are ready to be snipped and saved.

Tonight calls for Butternut Squash soup.  And the crazy busy-ness of the recent weeks means that a double batch is in order–some for now and some to freeze for a hectic evening later.  There  are times when all you need is a bowl of soup, some crunchy bread and a salad.  It’s so satisfying.  Add a glass of chardonnay and life is good.  Sometimes I make this soup elegant with a “garnish” of lump crab meat.  (By garnish, I mean a nice big plop gently placed in the center of the bowl.)  Other times, I’ve added sliced hotdogs.  Most of the time I eat it simply as is.

Once upon a time I had an actual recipe.  But now it’s something I throw together sort of like this…

Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into pieces

1 carrot

1 stalk of celery

1 medium onion or 2 shallots

1 potato (preferably russet), peeled and cubed

3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

crumbled fresh dried sage to taste

crumbled fresh dried thyme to taste

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot sauté the vegetables in a bit of olive oil until the onions are soft.  Add the broth and seasonings and simmer about 45 minutes until all the vegetables are very soft (mashable with a fork).  In small batches, blend the vegetables and broth in a blender until smooth.  Serve while still hot.

I  think I may have added an apple to this.  Or I might be getting confused with a different squash soup I’ve made.  But I wouldn’t be averse to adding an apple next time I make it.  And at least for me (who does not have blood-pressure issues), this soup tastes really yummy with sea salt sprinkled on top.