Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Jazzed Up Butternut-Squash Apple Soup – Cooking Up The Radio Dial (Part 1)

Dish: Butternut-Squash Apple Soup
Station : 91.0 Jazz FM
Music: Jazz (who’d of thought eh?)

With Canadian Thanksgiving just around the corner I thought I would kick-off my cooking up the radio dial segment by making a wholesome soup that pairs nicely with a turkey dinner…Butternut-Squash Apple Soup. I served this soup last Thanksgiving and it was a hit. You won’t find much fat in this little soup number so you can save those extra calories to have more turkey or a bigger slice of pumpkin pie. By the way if you’re looking for a few tips on how to cook a succulent turkey check out this helpful site that shows you how to cook the perfect turkey in 7-easy steps.

As for my musical cooking atmosphere, the first station I picked up on the radio dial was 91.0 Jazz FM. I’ll admit that I’m not the biggest jazz fan but I can get into it when inspired with the right songs. Lucky for me this station was playing some real cool tunes…most of which I had never heard before.

For instance, while cubing the squash for my soup I was trying to keep up to the high tempo beat of a song called “Stompin’ For Mili” by Dave Brubeck…I’ve never chopped so fast in my life. Later as I was pureeing the soup and mixing in the final ingredients, to two very hip sounding songs “Little Sheri” by Stanly Turrentine and Carmen McRae’s “Miss Brown To You”. I felt like a real swinger in the kitchen. I had never heard these songs before in my life but I liked…I liked a lot!

I soon realized that the beauty of listening to a jazz station is you don't hear a song repeated very often because there's an endless selection of tunes from this genre. However I did realize why I’m not a huge jazz fan. I’m the type of person who enjoys listening to lyrics and there are just too many "instrumental only" jazz songs. Overall I would rate my cooking experience three and a half song notes out of five. I think I’ll be infusing jazz into my kitchen more often. Cook-On!

Butternut-Squash Apple Soup

1 tbsp butter
1 cup diced onions
¼ cup grated carrots
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp brown sugar
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch
cubes (about 4 cups)
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
4 cups chicken broth
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup low-fat milk
2 pinches cayenne pepper
Chopped fresh chives to garnish

In a large soup pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, apple, brown sugar and nutmeg. Cook and stir until vegetables and fruit begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add squash, potato, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until vegetables are very tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

Working in batches, purée soup in a blender until smooth. Return puréed soup to pot. Stir in milk and cayenne pepper. Cook over medium heat, without bringing to a boil, until heated through. Ladle hot soup into individual serving bowls, garnish with chives and serve.

Volume: Makes 6 servings