Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Apple Butternut Squash Soup
I had been reading on your blogs about Greek yogurt, and when I finally saw organic Greek yogurt at my little city's grocery store this past spring, I was inspired and encouraged to try it.
I was going through the checkout, and a portly gentleman of early middle years was eying the foods as I placed them on the conveyor belt.
No point in pretending I didn't know he was standing there so I acknowledged him with a smile.
"I see you bought Greek yogurt," he said. " How do you like it?"
"This is my first purchase, but I like yogurt, so I'm sure I'll like this."
"See you bought Oikos. I've tried the others, but theirs is the best. My refrigerator is stacked with it. Look, see, I bought even more today. I don't want to run out."
He had indeed bought maybe a dozen single-serve containers, making a pyramid with them. I smiled politely, feeling a little possessive of my Greek yogurt. "I used to eat mostly cold cereal and canned soup; you certainly are making much better choices than I did."
He slightly shook his head disapprovingly and tut-tutted me. "Well, it's never to late to start," he admonished.
Then my youngest niece, Laura, graduated from UNH (University of New Hampshire), double major with a GPA that even now makes her Dad swell with pride. The keynote speaker was Gary Hirshberg, CEO (he calls himself CE-Yo, grins) of Stonyfield Farm, the producers of Oikos Greek Yogurt. He is down to earth, committed, takes pride in his company and product, is progressive, and supportive of those students who are interested in agriculture, is a friend to the Earth. His parting message to the graduating class, "Do good work." Aaah, a businessman whose philosophy reflects my own and who walks the talk. Now I am impressed with the man as well as the product.
As it happens, a representative of Stonyfield Farms contacted me and offered to send me some coupons to try their product and to mention them on my blog. I generally have their yogurt in my refrigerator so did not need the added incentive of coupons to give them a nod on my blog. Their generous offer, however, did pique my curiosity about recipes they had on their site and that's when I found their Apple Butternut Squash Soup.
I've discovered that I love pureed vegetable soups (Ole Sweetie-Pi still thinks he'd prefer to forgo the pleasure). I grew up on chowders and stews, with lots of chunky goodness in thickened gravies and broths. I still enjoy them. However, there's something velvety, satisfying, genteel, about pureed vegetable soups. Perhaps it's because there is one dominant ingredient and the rest are back notes, perhaps it's because I make use of vegetables are customarily only served as a side dish at my table. Perhaps it's just because I feel righteous and healthier. Perhaps it's simply because they are darned good.
Apple Butternut Squash Soup
(from Stonyfield Farm)
1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped coarsley
2 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon rosemary
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups Oikos Organic Plain Greek Yogurt, divided
In a large pot, combine all ingredients except the yogurt.. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes.
Let cool, then put in blender and pulse until smooth. (Or use an immersion blender or food processor.)
Add 1 cup of yogurt and pulse to combine.
Return soup to large pot and reheat slowly being careful not to boil. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with remaining yogurt.
My Notes: I'm not sure how big a "medium" squash is, but I bought the smallest one I could find and used three McIntosh apples. The flavor of the squash shines through; the apples add a nice touch of sweetness. I think the next time I make this, I'll use an additional apple, and perhaps one that is sweeter, such as Red Delicious. The addition of the yogurt adds a delicious creaminess and mouth feel, but I found the yogurt to be particularly tangy, so I might cut back on that a bit. And definitely use fresh herbs if you can. The soup was excellent reheated the next day, and if possible, even better. I'm already looking forward to another bowl of this!