sweet butternut squash soup and beer bread

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I know I seem to post a lot of soup recipes, but I can’t help it! I just love them! And in the winter, that is always what I want for dinner. After all, I did a whole soup week last year to celebrate my 1 year blog anniversary! Soups are often easier and make larger quantities than other types of meals. I love that I can make a big pot of soup, add some bread and a salad, and the meal is complete. 046
I often make my 5 Minute Artisan Bread to go with soup, but sometimes I want a change, or more often, I’m running short on time and Beer Bread is what saves the day 🙂 Beer Bread is so delicious and it’s done in an hour and SO EASY. Anyone can make this Beer Bread recipe. This is also a great bread to use for dips as well. As you know, all the alcohol bakes out, so this is perfectly acceptable for children. In fact, all of my kids love it warm with soup, and then the next day with jam. I typically use a cheap beer for my beer bread, I think the lighter beers taste the best with this anyway. We almost always have Coors Light hanging around that someone left after a get together. Plus Mr. Chaos told me I definitely could not use his expensive beer 😉 I have heard that beer bread can also be made using Sprite or other types of soda, but I have never tried it. I also know you need the yeast that’s in beer to help the bread to rise, so I’m not sure how that would work without it.

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This Butternut Squash Soup is just lovely, the flavors are really wonderful. The taste is divine, and it’s one of the few soups that tastes great right after it’s made. I think a lot of times soup is at its best the second day, this one tastes great right after its made. I know I recently posted a pumpkin soup recipe, but that one is definitely savory and a lot different than this one. Winter is a great time to take advantage of the winter squashes and other vegetables that are in season. We’ve also been eating a lot of spaghetti squash (hoping to get a great recipe posted with that veggie!). 020

Sweet Butternut Squash Soup

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This is a modified version of a recipe by Cooks Illustrated. I basically never make a single version of a recipe, I almost always double or triple it, especially with soup.  I had to modify this recipe a bit because I tripled it. The original single version is below this triple version.

1 stick of butter

1 small to medium onion, chopped

3 Butternut Squash, unpeeled, squash halved lengthwise, seeds and stringy fibers scraped with spoon and reserved, and each half cut into quarters

8 cups of water

2 tablespoons of salt, divided

1 1/2 cups heavy cream, half and half, or whole milk

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1-2 cups chicken stock, broth or Better Than Bouillon

nutmeg or curry powder, optional

In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add onions and saute for several minutes. Add reserved squash fibers and seeds and saute about 4 minutes. Pour water into Dutch oven, add 1 tablespoon of salt, and place steamer basket over water. Place squash pieces in steamer basket, cover pot, bring water to boil, and steam squash for 30 minutes, or until very soft.

Remove squash to cool. Strain steaming liquid, pressing on solids to remove all liquid. Discard solids. Return steaming liquid to pot.

Scrape cooled squash from skin into large pot with steaming liquid. Using a stick blender, thoroughly blend liquid and squash until smooth. (If you do not have a stick blender, get one! Just kidding, you can work in batches, and blend steaming liquid and squash together in a blender until perfectly smooth. Pour puree back into large pot, and stir in cream and brown sugar. Salt to taste, adding possibly another tablespoon of salt and add a pinch of nutmeg or 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. If soup is too thick, add 1-2 cups of chicken broth, stock or Better Than Bouillon. Once I made it and it was very thick and needed to be thinned, the second time it didn’t need as much liquid. Heat soup to desired serving temperature.

Original Single Version:

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
4 tablespoons of chopped onions
1 large Butternut Squash, unpeeled, squash halved lengthwise, seeds and stringy fibers scraped with spoon and reserved, and each half cut into quarters
6 cups water
Salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

nutmeg or curry powder

Easy Beer Bread

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3 cups flour (spooned into a cup measure and leveled with a knife. This replaces sifting)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 – 12 oz can or bottle of beer

2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Grease bread pan and set aside. Whisk all dry ingredients in a bowl and then gently stir in the beer. Do not over mix. Pour batter into bread pan and make level. Pour butter on top. Bake 55-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a couple of minutes, remove from pan and let cool a bit longer before cutting.

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