I love soup. I love soup when it has been below 20 degrees outside for nearly 5 days in a row. I love the idea of chopping a bunch of things, putting them in a pot, and letting them boil for a bit. I love eating with a spoon and I love winter-type vegetables all soft and brothy. I will always love soup and I will always look for new soups to make. The possibilities are virtually endless, thank goodness.
This soup, White Bean and Butternut Squash soup from The Art of Simple Food, called for some sage leaves, which our spice cabinet was all out of. So I decided to go digging around in my mom’s pot-o-random-dried-stuff. When choosing from the pot, one must be careful, or one might inadvertently touch a dried habanero pepper and then one’s eye. It’s a dangerous pot, and I’m not going to lie–rooting around in it I found a dead dried spider or two. But I also think I found some sage leaves….or they could’ve been any number of random dried leaf from our garden. Who can say? Whatever they were, they flavored the soup in a very lovely way.
We also got some huge white beans. Beans are tricky by me. Sometimes they taste so chalky, other times they are lovely. These I cooked about 4 times longer than the jar told me to, but I still thought they were a bit tough. Luckily the butternut squash cooks down so tenderly that the tough beans were actually a nice texture juxtaposition next to them.
The most time consuming part is definitely chopping the squash. Butternut is notoriously tough, and getting them down to 1/2″ was no small feat. Other than that, as the book promises, this is a simple recipe. Some onion, some chicken broth, add the beans….that’s pretty much it. But oh, it’s so lovely.
You should probably make it right now, and toast up some bread and curl up on the couch by the fire. If ever I say I hate winter, someone please remind me of soup.
White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
from The Art of Simple Food
Soak in 4 cups water overnight:
1 cup dried white beans (such as canellini, haricot blanc, or navy beans)
Drain and put in a large pot with:
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer until the beans are tender. Start chcking after 45 minutes. Season to taste when cooked.
Heat in a heavy-bottomed pot:
2 tablespoons olive oil or duck fat
2 onions, sliced thin
3 or 4 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
Cook over medium heat until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in:
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Cook for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and add 6 cups of their cooking liquid to the squash and onions. Cook at a simmer until the squash starts to become tender. Add the beans and keep cooking until the squash is very soft. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve hot soup over thickly-sliced country-style or levain bread that has been brushed with duck fat or olive oil and toasted until crisp and golden brown.
Use other varieties of winter squash: Delicata, acorn, kabocha, French pumpkin.