A few years ago, while traveling around Patagonia, I tried the local staple of pumpkin soup at just about every restaurant, from the most upscale to the combo convenience store/restaurant. It was wonderful stuff. The best was in El Chalten, Argentina and the chef/owner was Chippo. The wind had kicked up and the temperature was dropping outside. Chippo's wife brought a big bowl of this rich, creamy, rustic, delicious goodness. I was in love.
In our efforts to replicate it, we discovered that it works best to actually use butternut squash, rather than pumpkin. Beyond which, I'm not sure that the Argentines mean pumpkin in the "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" kinda way. At any rate, here's my version of Patagonian Pumpkin soup, also known as Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, just in time for Halloween.
You will need:
two butternut squashes, peeled, seeded and cubed
two small to medium sized sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
two carrots, peeled and cubed
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
handful of thyme sprigs
3 cups chicken stock (preferably homemade, but you can use a box or two of supermarket stock if you're not in the habit of making stock) [also, you can use more or less stock, depending on how thick or thin you prefer your soups]
1/4 pint of heavy cream (you don't need much cream, just a touch to really finish it)
The prep on this is really easy. Clean and dice all the veg, toss them with olive oil, the smashed garlic and the thyme sprigs. Spread out on cookie sheets. You want to have just one layer, so I usually have to use two cookie sheets. Add salt and pepper and roast at 350 degrees for about an hour. Check it after 45 minutes - it can roast faster depending on the size of your dice. You want it to be the veg to be really soft. If they're not, give it another 5 or 10 minutes.
Run the roasted veggies through the food processor and then add to simmering chicken stock. You're almost done. I usually run the soup through the blender one more time. The food processor doesn't get the soup creamy enough and you don't want this to be chunky at all -- you're after a really creamy, smooth texture. So, it's a little messy and kinda time consuming to blend unless you have an immersion blender (food gadget lust), but it's worth it. I think that changing the texture alters the flavor, taking it from delicious to sublime.
Once blended, check for salt, stir in about 1/4 pint of heavy cream and let it simmer for another 10 minutes before serving.
It's a simple, elegant soup. I like it with some really good, crusty bread. Today, for the Steelers-Dolphins tilt, I'm serving it with bread from Breadworks.
Today's Growler: Church Brew Works Octoberfest. Easy. Easy like Sunday mornin', yeaaahh.