Forage Locally (Or at Whole Foods)
How to Make Butternut Squash Soup and Charred Eggplant Dip
Rohan Anderson, a hunter, gatherer, food blogger and self-described “home grown DIY food producer,” uses fresh seasonal ingredients found near his home in Victoria, Australia, to make delicious, rustic food. Though Anderson forages for his own produce, you can make these recipes — for a butternut pumpkin and leek soup, and a char-grilled eggplant dip — with ingredients from the local Whole Foods. They’re perfect for the cold weather of late fall and winter, plus the dip makes a nice replacement for chips and salsa on NFL Sundays.
– Tucker Bowe
Butternut and Leek Soup
There are many types of pumpkin you can grow, and these days there is a great range of heirloom varieties becoming more readily available. Often though, I can’t help but raise one of my old reliable favorites; the good old butternut pumpkin (butternut squash). You’ll be able to find seedlings at your local nursery or you can propagate them from seed using the toilet roll method.
Why is butternut pumpkin so special? It’s sweet and nutty, roasts well, and works amazingly well in a soup where others fail to rate. Best of all if you leave at least 6 inches (15cm) of stalk attached when you harvest them, they can be stored in the larder and available for winter consumption.
1 butternut pumpkin, skinned and de-seeded
2 leeks, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup grated Grana Padano cheese
2 tablespoon butter
1/5 cup (50 milliliters) pouring cream
1 quart (1 liter) chicken stock
Handful fresh thyme, chopped
Small handful parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, grated
Extra virgin olive oil
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C).
2. Clean out pumpkin and chop into large chunks.
3. Place pumpkin pieces into a roasting tray with a good drizzle of olive oil. Get your hands right in there and toss them around so the pumpkin is nicely covered in that beautiful olive oil.
4. Pop in your garlic cloves for roasting too, not chopped, just whole cloves, skin on.
5. Roast the pumpkin for 40 minutes turning once. When done remove the pumpkins and garlic and set aside.
6. Now heat a large saucepan, add a glug of olive oil and the butter. When the butter is almost melted add the chopped leek and cook until it softens on a medium-high heat (normally 5-10 minutes).
7. Now, add the roasted pumpkin, grate in the nutmeg, and add the thyme and stock.
8. Squeeze out that wonderful soft garlic right into your saucepan. Try not to eat it straight away like I always do!
9. Mash it all together. Use whatever you have around; I’ll often use a potato masher or a large wooden spoon. Don’t worry about consistency or texture at this stage, as we’ll run a whizzer through it soon.
10. This is your soup base. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes, with a little stirring every so often. If it looks too thick, add more stock or hot water and stir through.
11. Run a hand food processor (or a stick blender) through the soup to get your desired consistency. Add your cheese, salt and pepper to season, and stir through.
12. Pour in the cream, garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve with some toasted bread and eat away your winter blues.