Did you know???
January is national soup month.
(Well, duh, right?)
While I LOVE soup, I’m over here on a Ramen tear and I will NOT STOP until I have ‘mastered’ the art of the perfect bowl.
I say ‘mastered’ because some ramen chefs dedicate their entire lives to finding the perfect harmony in a bowl. Each of the six components of creating ramen are complicated enough on their own…but, finding the perfect balance includes creating each component with expertise while making sure the flavors compliment one another…without one overpowering the other.
Sounds intense right?
It is! Lol.
One of the things that (I think) makes ramen so special is the HOURS of love and attention that goes into creating it.
Growing up, I remember when my grandma made spaghetti. She prepared the sauce early in the morning and set it in a crockpot to simmer all day until ‘supper’ was served at 5:30. To this day, I can still hear her beautiful, sing-songy voice as I snuck a bite.
“BBBBRRRRAAAANNNNDDDDIIIII…get outta there.”
There is just something to be said about a dish that simmers, allowing flavors to deepen and a richness emerge. January is THE BEST month for a dish of this sort.
It’s cold and rainy…and dismal and grey. The perfect recipe to snuggle inside, covered with a blanket and a good book. It’s also the perfect day to add some heat to the house by firing up the stove!
Late October- early November offers us an abundance of butternut, acorn and spaghetti squashes through our local co-op, Farm to Kitchen Collective. I usually enjoy the sweetness of butternut paired against something salty and bold like black beans.
However, I recently made a Butternut Squash marinara and I -LOVE- the idea of using butternut squash and tomatoes together. We get a small batch of tomatoes at the start of fall. With our warm climate, greenhouses allow favorable conditions to grow a few tomatoes allowing an overlap in seasons.
During our first cold snap, my man was in the mood for some tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Remembering I had some Butternut & Tomato base in the fridge, I went to creating and developed a Fall Soup worthy of a side dish or a main. Now, I crave this every day!!! Fortunately, I can my tomatoes so I always have some one hand when winter is at it’s peak. The fresh tomatoes below can be substituted for canned and it works beautifully.
The butternut lends a subtle sweetness that cuts the acidity of the tomatoes. It’s warm, satisfying and delicious. I’ve tried this using several different ‘milks’ and I prefer it with full fat organic cow’s milk or with full fat coconut milk. I’ve tried it with both Malk and chicken broth and it makes the perfect healthy alternative to cow’s milk.
Mise en Place for Butternut- Tomato Base includes garlic, tomatoes, basil and butternut squash.This soup is rich and creamy. The butternut squash lends a sweetness that cuts the acidity of the tomatoes.
DON’T BE INTIMIDATED by the amount of time it takes to make this dish. Most of the time is inactive.
Butternut Squash & Fall Tomato Basil Bisque
Butternut & Tomato Base
- 1 Butternut Squash (small or 1/2 large) Peeled & Cubed
- 1 Pound Tomatoes
- 3 Clove Garlic
- 1/2 Onion Diced
- 1 Red Bell Pepper Diced
- 3 Stalks Celery Diced
- 4 Sprigs Fresh Basil
- 1 TBSP Avocado Oil
- 1 TBSP Honey
Butternut Squash & Fall Tomato Soup
- Butternut Squash & Tomato Base (Above)
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil Torn
- 1/4 Cup Milk -or- Cream
- 1 TBSP Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Crushed Red Pepper
- Salt & Pepper to Taste
Butternut Squash and Tomato Bisque
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- MISE en PLACE: Cube & Peel Butternut, peel garlic & get press. Prepare onions, bell peppers and celery. Pull spices, oil & honey.
- Add ingredients for Butternut Squash & Tomato base to a glass casserole dish and place in oven. Drizzle honey & oil over the top. (I use a Pyrex bowl as pictured.) Roast for 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and gently cut tomatoes, allowing them to release their juices. Add another sprinkle of salt and pepper to taste and drizzle 1 tsp oil. Cook for 30 more minutes.
- At the 1 hour mark, stir, releasing all juice from the tomatoes. Cook 30 more minutes.
- For soup, add all ingredients into sauce pan, add fresh basil and stir until boiling.
- Reduce heat and us emulsion blender to stir in milk or cream.
- Serve Warm.
RECIPE BONUS: This is also the base to our Butternut Squash Marinara. Double the batch and you’ve got easy weeknight dinners!!