Sunday, January 20, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside...

There is nothing like a hot thick soup to warm you up on a Snow Day. Today for lunch, I made Golden Winter Soup...the feature of this month's Cooking Light. Besides cutting up the butternut squash, which was quite a challenge, it couldn't be easier. This soup is very very filling and makes 8 servings...perfect for our lunches next week. The recipe includes french-guyere toasts. I also saw a salad in Cooking Light, but was pretty labor intensive as a side salad. So I bought mixed spinach salad, dried cranberries, walnuts, shallots and a raspberry-walnut vinegarette. My only change to the soup was using fat-free half and half. Next time I'll probably use a low-fat to give it more flavor, but I really don't think you need the full-fat half and half.

Golden Winter Soup (Cooking Light)

2 tablespoons butter
5 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled russet potato (about 12 ounces)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups sliced leek (about 2 medium)
4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup half-and-half
12 ounces baguette, cut into 16 slices
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Gruyère cheese
3 tablespoons chopped chives
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Preheat broiler.

Melt butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, salt, and pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add leek; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until potato is tender, stirring occasionally. Place half of potato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture. Stir in half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.

Arrange bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet; sprinkle evenly with cheese. Broil bread slices 2 minutes or until golden. Ladle 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 1 teaspoon chives. Serve 2 bread slices with each serving. Garnish with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.

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