sweet potato, butternut squash soup

Apparently the most downloaded holiday recipe from the NYT online site. The following recipe is nicked from the NYT.

[ This silky fall/winter puree tastes rich, though there is no cream or butter in it.

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1 medium-size Yukon gold or russet potato, peeled and diced

6 cups water, chicken stock, or vegetable stock

Salt to taste

1. Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and stir together until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the squash, sweet potatoes, regular potato, and water or stock, and bring to a simmer. Add salt to taste, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes, or until all of the ingredients are thoroughly tender.

2. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup (or you can put it through the fine blade of a food mill or use a regular blender, working in batches and placing a kitchen towel over the top to avoid splashing). Return to the pot and stir with a whisk to even out the texture. Heat through, adjust salt and add pepper to taste. ]


What? No butter? No cream? That's nonsense. I put both in mine. What would be the point of leaving them out? If NYT was serious about health they'd have insisted on salt-free home-made chicken broth and not leave it to their readers to error by ruining their soup with overly salty canned broth or even broth in a carton which is an improvement but only hardly. It's barely bullion and water. Home-made chicken broth is 100% aspic, the gelatin extracted from bone marrow, and infinitely richer than commercial broth. Period. Right here is where your broth is put to best use. Ferchristssake. Also, I positively do not understand the dearth of spices. What are they, ascetics over there at the NYT or what? Yo no lo comprendo. Surely, they're intending this as merely a starting point for their reader's own elaboration. This recipe screams for touches of cinnamon, specks of clove, possibly allspice, and definitely nutmeg. Garlic pairs naturally with ginger and goes excellently well with gourds. All of that in amounts so minute compared to the total volume, that it's barely noticeable and in no wise competes with the flavors of roasted sweet potato and butternut squash but adds mysterious flavor and body that has to be tasted to be believed. The potato is almost gratuitous. It's there to add starch and to thicken the soup. I do not understand not suggesting roasting the vegetables rather than just jumping right in and boiling them. Boiling vegetables dilutes their naked flavor into the water, on the other hand, roasting them develops flavor and intensifies it. The depth and breadth of complexity of flavors is completely absent by simply boiling them. Roasting the vegetables causes them to caramelize and then the caramelization undergoes further complex chemical reactions. The sweetness of roasted vegetables is simply outstanding.

I'm such a dunce. After all that, I forgot to buy ginger. Luckily I have crystalized ginger and powdered ginger, but those are whole 'nuther animals. I used both but understated them because they are different and I didn't want the soup to be BANG !, ginger.

Used a couple of leeks because I had them and wanted to use them. They were roasted along with the gourds and potatoes.

This soup would benefit from some citric. Grated orange peel would be excellent.

It would not be harmed by chile pepper flakes. Paprika, dashes of Tabasco, habanero. Anything hot. It could even stand a few dashes of your favorite curry. Look, if you're going to all the trouble of making your own soup, then plan a party for your mouth. That's my attitude.

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