Archive for October, 2008

Farmer's Butternut Squash Soup

I guess what makes this soup “farmer-y” is that I don’t use a food processor to mush up the squash. Instead, I leave it chunky, in the original cubes it is diced into before cooking. This eliminates a step, and a piece of kitchen machinery. Plus, I just like the soup better chunky. I like to chew my food. 


2 c. butternut squash, diced and peeled.

1 c. white or yellow onion, chopped small

1/2 c. sweet peppers, chopped small

Several lobes of fresh garlic, perhaps 1-2 Tbsp.

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Fresh sage (optional)

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)


First, you have to peel and dice the squash, which is the most labor intensive part of this otherwise super-simple recipe. Butternut squash is definitely a vegetable that makes you work for its love. I suggest chopping the squash into several cross sections along its length, peeling each, and then dicing as you would an onion or a potato. The cubes should be quite small, perhaps 1/2 inch square, so as to cook through quickly and thoroughly. 

Now dice the onion into smallish pieces.  In a large saucepan or wok, sautee the onion and squash together over medium heat until squash is soft and onion takes on a transparent appearance. Cover with water until squash and onion are just submerged, and bring to a boil before turning heat down to a simmer. 

Slice sweet peppers very fine and add to simmering pot. Dice garlic or put through a garlic press and add. Season pot with with salt and pepper to taste. I also love the savory base note of sage here, and a little bit of cayenne to warm things up. 

Simmer ingredient together at least 25 minutes, adding more water if necessary. You can simmer much longer if you like, while you go and do something else, as long as the heat is low and you check the pot occasionally to make sure things are still going nicely. 

If you like, you can use a potato masher or pastry cutter to mush the squash up a bit for a less chunky soup. Serve when hungry. Garnish with fresh sage for a fancy touch. Makes enough for 4-6. (Or fewer, with plenty left over for lunch the next day.)


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Sage and mint, in their new home on my porch

Fall is an iffy thing in Texas. Yesterday afternoon temperatures topped 90 degrees, but a cold front blew in last night and this morning I wore a coat. At the Austin Farmer’s Market on Saturday the available veggies said it was somewhere between late summer and mid-autumn. Still a few summer squash around, and plenty of okra and peppers, but melons and tomatoes were scarce, with a variety of winter squash in their place. 

I gave myself $20 to buy produce for the week, and immediately spent $4 on small sage and mint plants to repot at home. I haven’t had any fresh herb plants since I let my last mint plants get killed by front last fall. 😦

Hopefully this year I will be more responsible about protecting my crops.  

Look at them. They want to be soup. You can tell.


Several stalls had early butternut squash, mostly around $3/lb. A little pricy, and hopefully that will come down during the season, but I couldn’t resist getting a few. Soup time!





Mmmm. Iron absorption.

Also snagged some early broccoli, for which the peak season is just beginning. I love broccoli for it’s high iron content (I tend to get anemic, especially in the winter for some reason) and for its Vitamin C, which aids iron absorption by the body. I usually just eat it steamed or raw, but I know there have to be some neat recipes out there I could tap into. 


Late summer sweet peppers (banana, pimento, and bell) and some early pears rounded out my shopping expedition. Should be a yummy week!


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