Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Create A Beautiful, Inexpensive Soup In A Few Easy Steps

CC Note: Butternut Squash is a favorite of our staff. This recipe has been given the coveted Fayette Front Page 4 chocolate covered strawberries award.

(NAPSI)-Cooking for a special occasion can take all day in a hot kitchen and require costly ingredients, which many of us on a budget can't afford.

This Butternut Squash Soup can begin a spectacular meal. The secret is in the easy-to-make mixture of chives and cooking oil. (Your food processor does all the work for you.) Chives taste like a sweeter, milder version of an onion. That hint of oniony flavor adds spark. If you prefer, leave the peel on the potatoes for a thicker, heartier soup.

Add a few slices of French bread on the side and you have a quick and easy low-cost starter for your special occasion.

Butternut Squash Soup with Chive Oil

Ingredients:

⅓ cup LouAna vegetable or canola oil

7 cups (½-inch) cubed, peeled butternut squash

1½ cups (½-inch) cubed, peeled russet potato

1½ cups chopped onion

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2 cups half-and-half

Chive Oil:

½ cup vegetable or canola oil

1 (1-ounce) package fresh chives

Preparation and Cooking:

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven (or another thick-walled iron cooking pot with a tight- fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add squash, potato, onion, salt, pepper and nutmeg to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes or until cooled slightly.

Place half of potato mixture and 1 cup half-and-half in a blender; process until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining potato mixture and half-and-half. Cover and keep warm.

Combine ½ cup oil and chives in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl; discard solids. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon chive oil over each serving.

Serves six people.

Visit www.louana.com for more recipes and cooking tips.

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