It is a frigid time in the city. The avenues are packed with boisterous revelers. People on the street move in sluggish pods, just to stay warm. The nose is cold and the tips of the ears are numb. As the song says, “I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder, grown a little sadder, grown a little older.”
Soup is the antidote - simple, rustic soup with just a few ingredients. Soup that simmers on the stove, filling the nostrils with comfort and joy. White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup.
The source is Alice Water’s “The Art Simple Food.” The ingredients are mostly in the pantry starting with one cup of dried cannellini beans soaked overnight. The beans are drained and combined in a pot with 3 cups of chicken broth and 4 cups of water, brought to a boil and then simmered until tender, about 45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a Dutch oven and add two onions sliced thin, 4 sage leaves and one bay leaf. Cook over medium heat until the onions are tender for about 15 minutes.
The butternut squash comes from Restoration Farm – still bright, sweet and bursting with color and energy. The autumn produce is like a tonic as we sit at the edge of winter. Peel the squash and cut into ½ inch cubes and add with coarse salt to the pot with the onions. Cook the mixture for 5 minutes. Drain the beans and add six cups of the cooking liquid to the squash and onions. Add additional water if there is not enough cooking liquid. Simmer until the squash becomes tender and then add the beans and keep cooking until the squash is soft. Blend the soup slightly with an immersion blender, but leave chunks of squash and beans. Season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle a thick slice of homemade bread with olive oil and toast in the oven until crispy. Place the bread at the center of a shallow bowl and pour the hot soup over the bread. Warmth and sanity restored. Joy to the World!
©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved