Old Pic, New Recipes

Ok and old squash.  My squash from last year winter well in my root cellar but is now starting to mold.  I figure its only a few more months until more squash so we better eat it.

From AB and SS

2 white onions                        

Minced garlic
3 butternut squash, peeled then cubed        

Vegetable stock                    
salt & pepper to taste                   

¼ - ½ C maple syrup

Sauté onion and garlic in butter in a soup pot.  Add cubed squash and cook briefly.  Add vegetable stock to cover.  Add pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, salt and pepper.  Add maple syrup. 

Simmer until squash is soft.  May need to add more vegetable stock at this point.  Puree until blended and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Finish with half and half or cream if desired.

Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Hazelnut Baked in Phyllo
Adapted From Thierry Rautureau, Author of Rover's: Recipes from Seattle's Chef in the Hat
(Makes 4 servings)

1 butternut squash (about 1-1/2 pounds)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons hazelnut oil or olive oil
1 Granny Smith apple
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
2 pinches minced thyme
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup apple juice or small amount of brandy extract with water (my substitution for Calvados)
2 teaspoons minced chives
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
3 sheets phyllo dough
3 tablespoons crème fraîche or heavy cream
2 tablespoons hazelnut flavoring (my substitution for Frangelico)

Beet coulis
Pumpkin seed oil or hazelnut oil
Trim the ends from the butternut squash and halve it lengthwise. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibrous flesh from the center. (The seeds can be cleaned and tossed with olive oil and salt to roast for a tasty snack.) Cut the squash into large pieces for easier handling. Use a small knife to carefully peel away the skin from the squash and coarsely chop the meat.

Heat 6 tablespoons of the butter with the hazelnut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until the butter is melted and foamy white. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften (but not brown), 5 to 7 minutes. Peel the skin from the apple, using a paring knife so that some of the flesh still clings to the apple skin. Add the apple skin to the squash with 3 tablespoons of the shallot, the garlic, and a pinch of the thyme. Cook, stirring, until the shallot and garlic are tender and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock and simmer until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the hazelnuts, then work in batches to purée the ingredients in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Strain the soup through a fine sieve back into the pan and set aside.

Core the apple and cut it into 1/4-inch dice. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small skillet over medium heat until melted and foamy white. Add the diced apple with the remaining teaspoon of shallot and remaining pinch of thyme. Sauté the apple, tossing gently a few times, until it just begins to soften but still holds its shape, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the apple juice. (If using Calvados, carefully light the liquid with a long match, and flambé until the flames subside.)  Take the pan from the heat and stir in the chives with salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees-F.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan, then take the pan from the heat. Lay 1 of the phyllo sheets horizontally on the work surface and lightly butter the surface with some of the melted butter. Lay another sheet on top and brush it with butter as well. Repeat with a third sheet of phyllo dough. Cut the phyllo sheets in quarters vertically. Spoon 1/4 of the apple filling onto the bottom center of 1 phyllo portion, about 2 inches up from the bottom. Fold the bottom edge of dough up over the filling, then fold in both long edges to make an even vertical strip. Fold the filled portion of dough upward as for a flag, forming a phyllo packet in a triangular shape (or simply fold upward to make a square packet). Brush the top of the packet with more melted butter and set it on a heavy baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining phyllo strips and apple filling. Bake the apple-hazelnut phyllo packets until crisp and well browned, 10 to 12 minutes.

While the phyllo packets are baking, finish the soup. Stir in the crème fraîche and hazelnut flavoring (or Frangelico), then use an immersion blender to fully incorporate. Taste the soup for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper to taste, and gently reheat over medium heat.

To serve, ladle the hot soup into warmed shallow soup bowls. Garnish with dots of beet coulis around the outer edge of the soup and drizzle pumpkin seed oil lightly over the surface of the soup. Set a phyllo packet in the center of each soup and serve right away.

Fresh goat cheese is an optional addition to the apple-hazelnut filling for the phyllo packets, offering a touch of tangy complement to the rich soup. Note that some phyllo producers now sell half-sized sheets of phyllo rather than the more common full-sized 14 by 18-inch sheets. If you purchase the smaller sheets, form 2 triple-layer sheets and halve each lengthwise. --Thierry Rautureau

French-born Thierry Rautureau moved to Seattle and opened Rover's in 1987. Since then, both chef Rautureau and Rover's have received endless national and local recognition and accolades, including four James Beard Foundation nominations for Best Chef in the Northwest, winning the honor in 1998. Chef Rautureau resides in Seattle, Washington with his family.

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