Fall into Fall….(or Autumn as we say!)
It’s hard to believe that it is Autumn as the weather here in Spain is pretty warm and sunny (apart from the extreme flooding that we had a week or two ago), the leaves here show very little sign of change as they are mostly olive or evergreens and I would be lying if I said I don’t miss the colors changing in Minnesota, what I do not miss however is what follows immediately after and that is one of the things we are trying to avoid on this “endless summer” journey of ours…..we aren’t doing too bad apart from the brief detour we took through the alps last December….no comment.
Our work here is almost done and that means travelling again and we can’t wait, it has been a crazy summer and I am cooked out (for a short while) I had this on file since last year and finally got around to editing it and I thought I would throw a recipe and video your way before we hit the road on the 10th!
Food in the Autumn is amazing, the colors of certain vegetables (pumpkin, butternut squash etc) reflect those of the leaves around and the lower temperatures dictate or demand a slightly heavier and more comforting food than that of the previous months…In one word, SOUP! Its time to pack away the salad spinner and whip out a big pot and a blender! Homemade soup doesn’t have to be hard and the great thing is that it will be full of goodness, you can make loads for almost no money and you can be proud that you made it from scratch and not just mixed in equal amounts of water to some goo that looks more like dog food than soup. Make a big batch, freeze in small batches and enjoy anytime you are cold.
This is one of my favorite soups for the color, smoothness and combinations of the smoky, sweet and sticky ham to the velvetyness of the soup (spell checker says that isn’t a word but I think it sounds good).
I really hope you try it and like I say in the video, you can also use pumpkin and if you are a vegetarian simply remove the ham and garnish with some fresh crumbled feta and if you can find it, a sprinkle of smoked sea salt!
Give it a whirl, have fun and let me know how it turns out……
P.S thanks Linda and Steve for the use of your amazing Kitchen!!
Butternut Squash Soup with Ham Hock
The combination of smoked and salty ham with the slightly sweet flavor or squash or pumpkin work very well. In this soup we combine the flavors to
make a tasty and colorful soup, perfect for a cold Autumn or winters day.
For the soup:
1 Tablespoon Unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon Light olive oil
1 Medium Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 Large smoked ham hock or Shank
1 medium/5 Cups Fresh Butternut Squash or Pumpkin, diced
1 Quart/ 950 ml Light chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and ground white pepper
Fresh sage for garnish
If your ham hock/shank isn’t cooked, simmer it in stock with vegetables until very tender, this can vary depending on the size of the ham. Once cooked, cool slightly, remove the skin and pull the meat into good size chunks ready to go into the soup.
Meanwhile, in a deep saucepan, heat the oil and the butter, once the butter is melted, add the garlic and the onion and cook without color until it is soft, now add the squash or pumpkin and cook for about 10 minutes, stir well. Add the stock (make sure it covers the squash by about 1 inch) and bring to a boil, once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the squash or pumpkin is cooked or fairly soft to bite into.
Place the soup into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Place into a clean saucepan and reheat, check the seasoning and serve the soup with the ham hock and garnish with fresh sage. You can also garnish the soup with some crème fraiche, pesto, crumbled feta or some chopped the diced apples if you like.