Monday, April 7, 2014

Adding a Professional Touch

These two photos show the difference a professional touch can make. I had Debbie DeNino at Dino's Ristorante Italiano in Roseburg prepare a special luncheon and tea for my mom and her friends to celebrate her 80th birthday last week. I baked this chocolate layer cake and asked Debbie to slice and serve it at the end of the meal.

The first photo shows how I would normally serve it at home. I used a small dessert plate and plopped a chocolate-dipped strawberry on the side.


The photo below shows how Debbie did it (which I copied with the leftovers). First, she used a large plate. Next, she made a zigzag of chocolate syrup and dusted the syrup and plate with powdered sugar. Finally, she carefully placed the cake slice on top and added the strawberry. Such quick and simple additions, but look at the difference it makes!


The trick for me will be hiding the Hershey's syrup from my son, so he doesn't use it all up for chocolate milk.

That's My Farmer Event


 Don't forget about the That's My Farmer event tomorrow night!
They'll be showing a fabulous film called "Ingredients" that features interviews with several Oregon chefs.
 
Photo: If you are a Farmer/Producer/Rancher in Douglas County..... don't miss this event! You will have an opportunity to meet your customers/consumers! And if you are a customer/consumer of local products...this is equally important! Support Your Local Food Connections!!!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Perfect Pies for Pi Day

(Previously published in my News Review column on 3-4-14)


Today, March 14 (3.14) math geeks everywhere are honoring this mathematical constant (the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter) by making and eating pie.

Math was never my strong suit. I do, however, make excellent pies. As a teenager, my family would lavish praise on anything I cooked or baked, but when I learned to make a pie from scratch, I hit pay dirt. My older brother would let me and my best friend come spend the weekend with him at UC Irvine if I would bring him an apple pie.

I have a lot of experience making pies. My oldest daughter, Christine, wanted pie instead of cake at her wedding reception a few years ago. I spent the night before the wedding baking blackberry and blueberry pies. My daughter, Laura, needed to raise money to go to El Salvador with HELP International. I made twelve apple pies in one day (with my parents peeling the apples for me) as part of an online bake sale. My son's current dinner of choice for any special occasion is chicken pot pie. He would happily eat it every week, were I willing to make it that often.

In honor of Pi Day, I offer you my best tips and three much-loved recipes to try. Happy baking!

Tips for success:

A pie is only as good as its crust. Making a great crust is not difficult, but it does take practice. I use unsalted butter for all of my pie crusts. It's a little more challenging to work with than shortening or a blend of shortening and butter, but the flavor and texture are unsurpassed. Use just enough water to hold the flour and butter together, but not enough to make the dough sticky.

Getting the consistency of the filling just right is important. For fruit pies, the fruit and sugar/flour mixture must stand for at least fifteen minutes before it's turned into the crust for baking. This allows time for the juices to begin to flow. Those juices will thicken into a syrupy sauce that coats the fruit. Measuring the ingredients accurately is critical. If you start getting generous with the fruit and sugar, you will need to increase the flour also or the filling will be runny. For a meat pie, the filling is cooked and thickened on the stove top, making a gravy to surround the meat and vegetables.

The goal when baking a fruit pie is to get the fruit tender and the juices thickened without burning the crust. I like to start baking my fruit pies at 450 degrees for the first ten minutes and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees to finish baking. This initial high heat quickly creates steam from the tiny pieces of butter in the crust. Those little pockets left behind when the butter melts and the steam evaporates are what makes the crust tender and flaky. It also gives the juices a head start on coming to a boil, which is part of the thickening process.

Slits in the top crust allow steam to escape and help keep the juices or gravy from bubbling over. Let your creativity run wild with the design! Sunbursts, a smiley face, or a freehand Pi symbol all work well. As a finishing touch on fruit pies, I like to spray or brush the top crust with water and sprinkle it with coarse demerara or turbinado sugar (like Sugar in the Raw brand) available in the bulk foods aisle at Sherm's.

Meat pies are served warm, of course, but be sure to cool fruit pies on a wire rack. The air circulation under the rack keeps the bottom crust from becoming soggy.

Classic Chicken Pot Pie
(adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookbook, 1976)

1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or several grinds of freshly ground)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth (homemade or from a base like Better Than Bouillon brand )
2/3 cup milk
2 cups diced, cooked chicken
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas and carrots (no need to thaw)
1 recipe Perfect Pastry for a double-crust pie (see below)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line the center rack with a sheet of aluminum foil.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Blend in the flour, onion powder, salt, and pepper with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant rubber scraper. Cook until smooth and bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in broth and milk until smooth. Return to heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for one minute. Remove from heat. Add diced chicken and frozen vegetables and stir to combine. Let stand while you prepare the crust.

Divide the pastry dough, roll out one half into a 10-inch circle and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Fill with the chicken mixture. Using a sharp paring knife, trim the edge of the dough so it comes just past the edge of the pan. Roll the remaining dough into another circle about the same size as the first. Place over the filling and trim so it hangs over the edge of the pan by about 1 inch. Now, tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and press to seal well all around the pan. Then make a decorative edge with your thumb or by crimping with the tines of a fork. This keeps the filling from bubbling down under the bottom crust and burning. Cut a small hole, about the size of a Cheerio, in the center of the crust to allow steam to escape, then cut slits or a design in the top, being careful not to accidentally cut through the bottom crust.
Place in the preheated oven and bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling.

Serve immediately. Makes six hearty servings. Leftovers are best reheated in a toaster oven, rather than a microwave.


Perfect Pastry for a double-crust pie

2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
14 Tablespoons (1 stick plus 6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, very cold
8 tablespoons ice water (add a tiny bit more, if necessary)

Stir the salt into the flour in a large bowl. Cut the cold butter into pieces and add to the flour. Using a pastry blender or two sharp knives, “cut in” the butter until well-distributed and no large chunks remain. (Recipes always say “like peas” but it never looks like peas to me.) Add 8 tablespoons ice water while tossing the mixture with a fork. Add a small amount of additional water if necessary and continue tossing gently just until all of the flour is moistened and holds together when pressed. Do not stir vigorously or the crust will be tough!

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and press together into a disc. Cut in half and set one half aside. Roll one half into a circle an inch larger than your pie pan. Place in the pan allowing it to hang over the edge. Turn the filling into the crust. (If using for a fruit pie, don't forget to dot with 2 tablespoons butter.) Using a sharp paring knife, trim the edge of the dough so it comes just past the edge of the pan. Roll the remaining dough into another circle about the same size as the first. Place over the filling and trim so it hangs over the edge of the pan by about 1 inch. Now, tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and press to seal well all around the pan. Then make a decorative edge with your thumb or by pressing with fork tines. This keeps the filling from bubbling down under the bottom crust and burning.

Cut a small hole, about the size of a Cheerio in the center of the crust to allow steam to escape, then cut slits or a design in the top, being careful not to accidentally cut through the bottom crust. Bake as directed in the pie recipe.

Forming the dough into a disc.

Rolling out the dough on a lightly floured board. I love my French rolling pin that's tapered on the ends. If you look closely, you can see the pieces of butter in the dough.
(I roll the dough around the rolling pin to transfer it to the pie pan, but I couldn't get a clear picture of that.) Let the dough hang over the edge until you fill the crust.

For a fruit pie, don't forget to dot the fruit with 2 tablespoons of butter.
Trim the top crusts...
then tuck them under and seal well.

Make a fancy edge with your thumb and forefingers and cut slits to let the steam escape.
I like to spray the crust with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar as a finishing touch.


My Best Apple Pie

1 recipe Perfect Pastry for double-crust pie 

5-6 Granny Smith or Newton Pippin apples
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
30 swipes of freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line the center rack with a sheet of aluminum foil. Peel and quarter the apples. Remove the core, slice each quarter into 4 or 5 thin slices and measure 6 cups into a large bowl. Add the lemon juice. In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir this into the apples and toss to coat well. Allow this mixture to stand for at least 15 minutes while you prepare the pastry for the crust.

Roll out one half of the pastry and use it to line a 9-inch pie pan. Fill with the apple mixture. Dot the top with the 2 tablespoons butter. Trim the edge of the pastry so it comes just past the edge of the pan. Roll out the top crust and cover the filling. Trim the top crust so it hangs over the pan by about one inch. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and press to seal well all around the pan. Press with the tines of a fork or make a fluted edge with your thumb and forefinger. Cut a small hole in the center of the top crust and then cut several slits or a design so steam can escape. If desired, brush or spray the top with water and sprinkle with coarse sugar or cinnamon sugar.

Place pie on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 35-40 minutes, until apples are tender (poke with a fork or cake tester through one of the slits), crust is golden, and juices are bubbling in the center. Cool on a wire rack.

Blackberry Pie

For the filling:

4 cups fresh or frozen* blackberries
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons butter
1 recipe Perfect Pastry for double-crust pie 
 
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line the center rack with a sheet of aluminum foil.
 
Stir the flour and sugar together in a medium bowl to mix well. Add the berries and lemon juice and mix until all the berries are coated. Let stand at least 15 minutes while you prepare the dough for the crust.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board or counter and press together into a disc. Cut in half and set one half aside. Roll out the other half into a circle a couple inches larger than your pie pan. Place in the pan allowing it to hang over the edge. Fill with fruit filling and dot with 2 tablespoons butter. Using a sharp paring knife, trim the edge of the dough so it comes just past the edge of the pan. Roll out the second disc into another circle about the same size as the first. Place over the fruit filling and trim so it hangs over the edge of the pan by about 1 inch. Now, tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and press to seal well all around the pan. Then make a decorative edge with your thumb or by pressing with fork tines. This keeps the juices from bubbling down under the bottom crust and burning. 
 
Cut a small hole, about the size of a Cheerio in the center of the crust to allow steam to escape, then cut slits or a design in the top, being careful not to accidentally cut through the bottom crust. If desired, brush or spray the top lightly with water and sprinkle evenly with sugar.
Place pie in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling through the hole in the center of the pie. Cool on a wire rack.

*If using frozen blackberries, thaw first and drain off any liquid or it will make the filling runny. You can use half blackberries and half blueberries for a “Black & Blue” pie.



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fabulous Soup Class

I had a great time at last Saturday's class on soups at Dino's Ristorante Italiano. Ten of us crowded into the kitchen to make four different soups: Roasted Garlic, Potato Leek, Tuscan Bean, and Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke. While it wouldn't be fair to post Debbie's recipes, I can share photos and a few tips I picked up.

Sun-Dried Tomato & Artichoke Soup
                                  
Potato Leek Soup

              

Cooking the leeks in butter and olive oil.


Frying julienned leeks for the garnish.



















For all the garlic in it, the Roasted Garlic Soup was quite mild and lovely. A slice of lemon was place in the bottom of each soup bowl before ladling in the soup. I was surprised at how much flavor it added! Perfect complement to the thyme in the recipe.

Debbie recommended a great seasoning called "Pepper Supreme" that's available at Sherm's in the institutional section.

Another class member said the "21 Salute" seasoning from Trader Joe's is excellent.

Debbie mentioned that their favorite Italian restaurant in Portland is Pazzo Ristorante. I will definitely be checking it out next time we head north.

If you're interested in getting on the email list for future classes at Dino's, give them a call at 541-673-0848. The classes fill quickly. You can also check out their facebook page.



Monday, February 10, 2014

Local Sweets for Your Sweetheart

Need a few gift ideas? Chocolate tops the list for this romantic holiday and we have several local chocolatiers and candymakers eager to help you impress your special someone.

Juliana Bounds of Cabruca Chocolates in Winchester makes divine truffles. Her most popular flavors are the salted caramel ganache (my personal favorite), lavender latte and chai/dulce de leche (she tells me chai is an aphrodisiac!). You could also opt for her hot chocolate mix with homemade marshmallows or the s'mores cookies she makes with freshly baked gluten-free graham crackers. Contact Juliana at 541-580-3188 or check the selection at My Coffee and the Wine Experience.

Donna Holm of Glide makes the best hazelnut toffee in the universe! It has the perfect texture, just the right crunch that doesn't stick to your teeth. Donna's toffee is available at Umpqua Local Goods on Cass Street or Associated Cellars on Winchester Street, both in Roseburg. Contact information: 541-430-7092, holmmadetoffee@gmail.com or through the website at holmmadetoffee.com.

Umpqua Sweets & Treats and Chocolate Fandango can put together a basket of fudge, chocolates, and candy for you complete with balloons and ribbons. The address is 1157 NE Stephens St., Roseburg. 541-957-5580.

If you're in the north county area, Sweet Thang Chocolates is offering their nine-piece box of truffles (any combination, including their award-winning Cleopatra truffle) at a 25 percent discount for Valentine's Day. The store is open Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and noon to 4:00 pm on Sundays. They can be reached at 541-870-1622 or sweetthangchocolates.com.

Beef Osso Buco with Polenta



How lucky we are to have multiple sources for local, naturally raised, grass-fed and grass-finished beef! I recently spotted several packages of Cascade Natural Meats beef osso buco, in the freezer case at Umpqua Local Goods and decided I needed to try something new. Osso Buco (generally pronounced AW-soh BOO-koh in Italian and OH-soh BOO-koh in English) means “pierced bone” or “hole in the bone”. It's a Milanese dish traditionally made with crosscut veal shanks, though it can also be made with pork or beef.

The meaty beef shanks I bought look like miniature pot roasts and are cooked in much the same way, long and slow with plenty of liquid to help tenderize the meat. Like an “O-bone” or “arm-bone” roast, the marrow in the bone enriches the flavor of the resulting sauce or gravy. The shanks are dusted with flour, browned in hot oil, and then braised in stock or a combination of stock and wine until very tender, from one and a half to three hours, depending on size. This can be done on the stove or in the oven, without much attention.

And that's a good thing, too, because Osso Buco is traditionally served with polenta or risotto, each requiring 30 to 45 minutes of constant stirring to achieve a creamy consistency without lumps or burning. I chose polenta because it reminds me of the grits my Aunt Connie makes when I visit her in South Carolina, though hers are always made with white corn. I bought the polenta (medium grind yellow cornmeal) in the bulk aisle at Sherm's and chose organic because, without labeling, that's the only way to be sure that it was not made with GMO corn. Less demanding, but still delicious alternatives would be egg fettucini or even mashed potatoes. Add a green salad and a crusty baguette to round out the meal and dinner is served.

Beef Osso Buco
Serves four

3 lbs. meaty beef shanks
¼ cup all-purpose flour
cotton kitchen twine
2 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup red wine (or an additional cup of bouillon)
2-3 cups beef stock or bouillon
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup petite-diced canned tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On the stove, heat butter and oil in a cast iron or enamel Dutch oven that has a tight-fitting lid. Tie a piece of twine snugly around each beef shank to keep it from falling apart while it cooks. Dust both sides of the meat with flour and shake off the excess. When the butter is foamy, sear the shanks on all sides until nicely browned and then remove them to a plate. Add the celery, onion, and carrot to the Dutch oven and cook until the onion is almost translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook another minute or two. Add the wine or 1 cup of the stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until the liquid is reduced by half. 

Place the beef shanks on top of the vegetables and pour in enough additional stock so that it comes three quarters of the way up the sides of the shanks. Salt and pepper the meat, sprinkle evenly with the thyme and place one half of the bay leaf on the meaty portion of each shank. Pour the tomatoes over the top of the meat and bring to a boil. Cover and place in the oven for 2 ½ to 3 hours, until the meat is fork-tender. 

When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves, carefully lift out the shanks with a sturdy pancake turner to a warm platter. Remove the string and place a portion of each shank atop a serving of polenta in a wide, shallow bowl. Spoon the vegetables and stock over the top. Note: veal or pork shanks are small and you would serve a whole shank intact, including the bone, to each person. Beef shanks are so large they need to be divided.



Basic Polenta
four servings

4 cups water
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons butter

Bring the water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Add the salt and then very slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce heat and continue cooking and stirring for about 30 minutes, until the polenta is creamy. (This is a good time to check facebook on your phone or read a few chapters of a book while you stir.) Taste and add additional salt, if needed, then stir in the butter. If you are not serving it immediately, keep the polenta warm and soft for up to one hour by covering the pot and placing it over a larger pot of barely simmering water.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Master Food Preserver Training 2014

This course will give you a comprehensive education in all forms of food preservation, using the most up-to-date safety information.  Learn to can, smoke, dehydrate, pickle, ferment, and freeze local fruits, vegetables, fish and meat so you can eat local all year long. Questions?  Call the office or connect with Douglas County Master Food Preservers on Facebook.


Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Better With Butternut

(This post was published in the December 2 Tasty Tuesday section of The News Review.)


With one feast behind us and more holiday treats ahead, I thought I'd offer a few recipes packed with nutrition to balance the candy, fudge, cookies, and other goodies we'll likely indulge in this month. I've recently become quite fond of butternut squash. It's inexpensive, locally grown, and easy to prepare. It's also low in calories, high in fiber and vitamins A and C, and a good source of magnesium and potassium. You can store whole butternut squashes in your garage all winter long, so why not head out to your local farmers market or fruit stand and stock up?

From soup to pie to a raw squash salad, you won't get bored with this versatile vegetable. Drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt, roasted butternut squash is delicious straight from the oven. I recently made lunch for two dozen people and received as many compliments on the roasted squash side dish as I did on the double chocolate raspberry brownies I served for dessert. Roasting squash is a simple procedure and it's the first step in several of the recipes that follow.

My dear friend and baking buddy, Laura Smith, has generously shared her recipe for Butternut Squash Pie. Pumpkin pie devotees are often skeptical, so Laura doesn't let on that it's not pumpkin until they have tasted it and begin to rave. She's won many converts over the years, including my son.

Raw squash salad is a delight. I'd never thought about eating butternut squash raw until I saw a recipe in Clean Eating magazine. I use the same dressing I make for a carrot salad, but I now prefer it made with squash.

The soup is my version of a classic. The sweetness of the vegetables is intensified by roasting the squash and the onions until they begin to caramelize before pureeing with the broth. It's perfect as a first course for dinner or a light lunch.

Tools of the Trade
(Hint: these make great gifts!)

I'm not a big fan of kitchen gadgets, but I'll mention two tools that I don't use often, but love having on hand when I need them. The first is a Microplane zester/grater. It's razor-sharp and looks like a wood rasp. It's perfect for zesting citrus fruits or grating fresh nutmeg. (Once you try fresh nutmeg, you'll be hooked. The most economical way to buy fresh nutmeg is from the spice section in the bulk foods aisle. A few whole nutmegs will last all year and cost less than a dollar.) The Microplane also works on Parmesan cheese. It's so much fun to use that I've been known to wander around the kitchen just looking for new things to grate.

The second tool I'm crazy about is my Titan julienne cutter. I would never have bought it on it's own; it came in a set with a vegetable peeler I wanted for shaving hard cheeses and chocolate.

Now I can make lovely julienne strips of carrot, zucchini, and butternut squash quickly and easily to use in salads and side dishes or to add a professional-looking garnish.

Simple Roasted Butternut Squash

This is my current favorite way to eat butternut squash. So simple, but oh so delicious. I'm constantly picking cubes of roasted squash off the pan before I even get it to the table.

Roasted Butternut Squash


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half. (To make this easier, first cut a 3-inch lengthwise slit in one side of the squash and microwave it for 5 minutes, then cut all the way in half.) Scoop out the seeds and remove the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler. Cut the peeled squash into 1-inch cubes. Place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to gently toss and coat the squash evenly. Sprinkle with sea salt and a grating of fresh nutmeg if desired. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring once or twice. The squash should be tender and have some browned edges. Serve warm.


My Titan peeler works well for this job.


Roasting squash or pumpkins for puree (to use in pies, bread, muffins, pancakes, etc.)



Follow instructions above but don't peel the squash. Place the halves cut side down on an oiled or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender and pierced easily with a fork. Let cool, then remove the peel. Puree in a blender or food processor or mash with a potato masher until smooth. Use within a few days or freeze in heavy-duty freezer bags.


Raw Butternut Squash Salad

 Lovely long julienne strips of raw squash and dried 
cranberries in a citrus vinaigrette. You'll be using the zest, 
so look for organic limes and oranges.

Raw Butternut Squash Salad
(inspired by a recipe in the October 2011 issue of Clean Eating magazine)

1 small butternut squash
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 orange, organic if possible
1 lime, organic if possible
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Remove peel with a sharp vegetable peeler. Cut into thin strips using a julienne tool, the julienne blade of a food processor, or grate the squash on a box grater. You will need 3 cups. (Roast any remaining squash for another recipe.) Place squash strips in a serving bowl and add the dried cranberries.

For the dressing, remove the zest from the orange and the lime (only the colored part!) and place in a small bowl. Cut the orange in half and use one half to squeeze ¼ cup of orange juice. Peel, separate, and slice the remaining half into bite-sized pieces and add to the squash. Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice from both halves. Add the juices to the small dressing bowl and whisk in the honey, olive oil, and salt. Pour over the squash mixture and toss to combine. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Makes about four cups.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

My version of a classic. I served this soup at a dinner for fifty women last month and it was a big hit.

Jennifer's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4 to 6



1 medium butternut squash, about 8 inches long

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup half & half
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half. (To make this easier, first cut a 3-inch lengthwise slit in one side of the squash and microwave it for 5 minutes, then cut all the way in half.) Scoop out the seeds and remove the skin with a sharp vegetable peeler. Cut the peeled squash into 1-inch cubes to make 6 cups. Place on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Peel and slice the onion and separate it into rings. Add it to the squash and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Use your hands to gently toss it all together, coating the vegetables evenly. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. The squash should be tender, the onions translucent, and both should have some browned edges.

Ready for roasting

Scraping up all the browned bits after roasting

Heat the chicken broth in a large pot and add the roasted squash and onions, scraping up all the browned bits that stuck to the pan. Using a hand blender, purée the broth and vegetables right in the pot. (Or puree in batches in a regular blender.) For the very smoothest soup, after blending press through a sieve or colander with a rubber spatula. Return to the pot.
I love my Cuisinart hand blender!

Stir in the half & half and nutmeg. Heat gently and season with additional sea salt to taste. Serve in warmed bowls garnished with additional nutmeg, if desired.

Printfriendly