Take one butternut squash.
They’re ugly, I know. They look like the decapitated — and also featureless — head of Charlie Brown’s dog, Snoopy. Did I need to say that first part? “Charlie Brown’s dog?” You already know who Snoopy is, don’t you? You presumably haven’t been living under a lichen-encrusted rock somewhere. Have you?
Oh, fair warning: I’ve been drinking.
Talisker, if you care to know. As everybody calls it, “the “salted caramel of Scotches.”
(Nobody calls it that.)
Where were we?
Take one butternut squash.
Peel it. I used a peeler but you might want to use a pearl-handled straight razor or some other serial killer implement. Peeling a butternut squash is a serious dick-pain because the skin is tough and the curves are awkward — it’s like you’re trying to make love to some kind of goblin creature. (It’s nothing like that. Settle down.) Just peel the goddamn squash, already.
Chop it in half. Bisect Snoopy’s head.
Scoop out the
Snoopy brains seeds and assorted tangled tentacle-bits.
Do what you like with those. Roast the seeds. Use the mangled innards as a vegetarian merkin.
Take your two halves of the squash-flesh (“Squashflesh” was my nickname in Sunday School), and then chop them into cubes that are roughly equivalent to one another. Perfection has little value here. Just get close enough for horseshoes and hand grenades and call it a day.
Oh, right, the oven.
Set your Food Furnace to a toasty 375 degrees.
You’ve chopped the squash, now it’s time to do the same to a medium-sized onion. Sweet onion if you can manage. You want to avoid any of the unpleasant varietals of onion. No butt onions, doom onions, Hitler onions, mucus onions — all of those are no-no onions. Leave those at the store where they belong. Only sweet onions may apply. Which is coincidentally what the hand-painted sign above my bed says! If you know what I mean! Right? Right? Yeah? Yeah!
*funky sex-jazz ensues*
The onion doesn’t need a lot of delicate attention. Just — you know, fucking chop that sonofabitch.
Both onion and squash will — nay, must! — go into a roasting pan.
I line mine with the magical substance known as “non-stick foil,” which is like a gift sent by the gods. Quite literally, in fact. Zeus staple-gunned a box of this stuff to the back of a dead mermaid and left it at my door. That Zeus! Him and all his silly back-slappers. He should get a sitcom, that guy. I propose we call it “That Zeus!” — it is, in fact, critical that the exclamation point remain intact so that in the show’s logo we may instead draw the exclamation point as a jagged lightning bolt. It’s how Zeus would want it.
Where was I?
Take one butternut squash.
Wait, we’ve already done that part?
Right! Roasting pan. Throw your vegges into a roasting pan, splash with a liberal dollop of olive oil, shake it around and rub it down and get all the vegetables properly lubed, as if they are about to be shoved into a very tight orifice (they are not, however, so please re-affix your pants to your undertorso).
On top of the now-glistening veggies will go:
A sprinkling of salt.
A dash of cayenne pepper.
A dash of cracked black pepper.
A naughty coating of herbes de provence, which is an herb blend of — I don’t know, a bunch of herbs. Including some herb named “savory,” which I’m pretty sure people just made up.
Into the oven! One hour. Or till it just starts to caramelize. You don’t want it to go too far into that process — just enough to bring the sugary goodness out. Stand vigil.
When they’re done, get out a stock pot. Pop into the stockpot some oil, some chopped carrots, some chopped celery. I did two of each — two ribs of celery, two… what’s a unit that measures carrots? If celery gets “ribs,” what do carrots get? Noses, I guess. I mean, that’s what you use for snowmen. But they also look phallic? Just the same, “two dicks of carrot” just sounds gross.
So, two ribs of celery, two noses of carrot.
Oh! And some fresh chopped garlic.
Start to cook that. Soften it up a little bit.
Dump your oven-roasted squash-and-onion blend into the pot.
Two cups of chicken broth.
Two tablespoons of apple cider (edited to add: vinegar).
Set that all to simmer, cook for… you know, not long? I don’t care. Five, ten minutes. Don’t get nuts with it. Just enough time to have a bottle of wine, read a magazine, kill a dude.
Time to get out your Blender-of-Choice.
Mine is, as of very recently, a Vitamix 5200. Refurb. We’d resisted the Vitamix for a long time because, well, they’re not cheap. It’s hard to justify that kind of money for a fucking blender. Thing is, I’ve hated all the blenders I’ve owned outside my immersion stick, and also we have a baby and I wanted to make baby food and blah blah blah. Long story beheaded and delimbed and made short: we bought a Vitamix.
Let me say that again in italics:
Let me say that again in all caps:
That crazy bastard will blend up anything.
Sure, it’s so loud it sounds like someone is mowing the lawn inside my brain, but hey, fuck it. It blends. It blends anything. It blends fast. Efficiently. I could probably use it to split the atom if I needed to. And because it’s so fast and so insane, you can use it to make hot soup or freeze ice cream or, I dunno, grind the bones of your foes into flour for a little recipe I call “Enemy Bread.”
Not “Enema Bread.”
Point is: choose your blender, and blend the soup.
Until it’s smooth and creamy. Like my supple thighs.
Now, back into the stockpot. Simmer. Pour in: 1/2 cup of heavy cream, or enough heavy cream so that your taste-buds do a happy dance, but not so much heavy cream that your arteries harden into little brittle sesame sticks. The soup at this point should be velvety and sweet and delicious.
I did two more things to the soup (calm down, my pants were on), but you don’t need to.
First, I cooked up some country ground sausage and put it into play. I like to chew my soup. If my soup’s too liquidy, I feel like an old person — I figure I’ve got plenty of years where I’ll be drinking my food through a bendy straw, so why start now?
Second, I “melted” (not really melted) some leeks. I did this in duck-fat and red wine vinegar. Chop your leeks into little o-rings, wash the dirt and grime out of there, put into a pan and sweat the leaks in the duck fat and a splash of vinegar for 8-10 minutes until tender.
I plopped the leeks right on top of the soup in the middle.
Floating there. A little leeky island.
Anyway. There you you go. Butternut squash soup. With sausage and melted leeks.
Your mouth can thank me later.
…that sounds like I’m asking for oral favors, but that’s not at all what I mean. I mean your lips can form the words “thank you” and then your vocal chords can express your gratitude.
And then you can buy me a pony.