Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup and Sausage-Apple Empanadas

I don't know if you are like me, but when I think of Butternut Squash soup, I think of healthy food that I need to "get down" so I get my daily dose of vegetables. Well this soup made me a believer by taking away the bland flavor and adding a delightful kick. Here is what you need and how to make it:

2 T. each olive oil and butter
1 cup onion, diced
1 T garlic, minced
2 t. minced fresh sage
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. red pepper flakes
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/4 cup brandy
8 cups butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1'' chunks
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Finish with:
8 baguette slices, toasted
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Saute onion, garlic, sage, sugar, pepper flakes, and cinnamon in oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Cook until onion is soft, about 10 minutes.
Stir brandy into the onion mixture and simmer for 1 minute; add the squash, broth, and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, partially cover and simmer until squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Working in batches, puree soup in a blender. Return soup to the pot.
Finish soup with cream, salt and pepper. Preheat broiler to high.
Toast baguette slices on a baking sheet under the broiler; sprinkle with cheese, then broil again to melt cheese 1-2 minutes. Top each soup with a baguette slice.

The soup is great, but the empanadas that accompany are marvelous. I would totally make these for a party, for breakfast or for any occasion that needs a little festivity. Serve these straight from the oven with your butternut squash soup for an absolutely perfect fall feast.

1/4 lb bulk Italian sausage
1/3 Braeburn apple, diced (I used ambrosia apples -- see previous post.)
2 T. chopped pecans
1 T. dry sherry
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
1 T water
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
Grated Parmesan cheese and paprika

Preheat oven to 400; line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Saute sausage in a skillet over medium high heat until brown, 3-4 minutes. Add the apple, pecans, then deglaze with the sherry. Season the mixture, then chill while preparing the dough.
Beat the egg and water together; set aside. Roll the pastry dough out onto a floured surface to a 13" square. With a pizza wheel, cut the pastry into 8 triangles as if cutting a pizza.
Fill each triangle with a heaping tablespoon of sausage mixture. Brush the edges with egg wash, fold in half to enclose filling and crimp the edges closed with a fork. Place empanadas on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle with cheese and paprika. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.

Source: Cuisine at Home: Splendid Soups and Sides

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