Halloween Heat Wave

Halloween feels a bit unfair. Think about it. Kids get to dress up, go out and bag boat loads of candy. And adults? Gosh, we get to dole the candy out and hope some wise acre doesn’t decide to toilet paper our trees or plaster our windows with shaving cream. And have you noticed that kids don’t just grab the candy, say thanks and take off? Now they give your candy the once over like they’d been expecting a Godiva gift box.

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Sour grapes? Okay, maybe. Let’s face it – I’d like a pillow case full of sugar packed chocs too. And why can’t I dress up like a vampire/ghost anymore?

The answer is simple: you can. Take back Halloween. Own it. Make it yours. Put on that DVD of Psycho. Crack open an extra bag (or three) of candy and eat yourself silly. Go ahead. It’s only once a year.

And while you’re at it, invite a like-minded friend or two over for some Halloween-inspired Butternut Squash Soup. You can sip it in between chowing down on mini Mars bars.

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Chile Spiked Butternut Squash Soup

Makes about 5 cups of soup which is enough for me or 3-4 normal people

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 butternut squash, around 2-2 ½ lbs.
3-4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
whipping cream (optional)
1 dried whole Negro chile
¼ tsp Chipotle chile powderSea salt flakes

Sauté the onion in a pot in 1½ tablespoon of the olive oil over low heat. While the onions are cooking, peel the butternut squash and chop it into cubes. Remove the squash seeds and reserve. When the onions are soft but not brown, add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute or so.

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Add the cubed butternut squash and the Negro chile. Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 3 cups of the stock, cover and cook until you can insert a knife easily into the squash.

While the soup is cooking, rinse the squash seeds to remove the fibers around them. Place the seeds in a frying pan and toast for a minute or two. When the seeds have dried out, add the remaining ½ tablespoon of oil and the chipotle chile powder and a sprinkle of sea salt. Cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the seeds are lightly toasted but not burned.

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When the squash is cooked through, remove the Negro chile, remove the stem and seeds and chop it up. Return the chopped chile to the soup. Puree in a food processor or with a stick blender. Check for seasoning and add more chile powder if you’d like an extra bite. Add more stock and/or cream so the soup has a pourable consistency.

Serve in bowls with a drizzle of cream and topped with the chipotle squash seeds.

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