There is a couple who lives on our street that we just adore. Every time my husband I drive by their house I tell him, “I want to be just like those two when we’re older”. Why? For so many reasons… For one, they are the kindest folks I know. One of my favorite things about these two is how charitable their hearts are. They volunteer on a regular basis at various non-profits across town throughout the week and hold a variety of volunteer positions within the church as well. And I truly believe that they would do absolutely anything they could for someone who they knew was in need.
One of my other favorite things about them is how much they love to cook. And eat! So many people tend to fall into a rut when it comes to these two events. They know what they like and they cook what they like and rarely venture out of their comfort zone. Not these two! The Mrs. and I love to talk about recipes and she’s always telling me about something new she’s tried. A few months ago I told her about how I’d finally talked Jeff into ordering fish tacos at our favorite Mexican restaurant and she said to me, “You know, I’ve never made fish tacos but I’d love to try. I have some fish right now. I think I’ll do it this Thursday”. I’m sure she did and I’m sure they were fantastic because I know she’s an amazing cook. Two years ago when Jeff had to have one of his kidneys removed the Mr. brought over a truckload of delicious food that she had prepared for us. And I’ve had the pleasure of being at their house on more than one occasion during dessert.
And then, of course, anther thing I just love about these two is their collective “green thumb”. I’ve never seen a more spectacular garden. Tomatoes and cucumbers and beets and various squashes and corn and peppers and beans and blackberries and GOOSEBERRIES… if it grows, there’s a good chance you’ll find it in their garden. And, if they end up with more than they can eat they always share their bounty. For instance, earlier in the year the Mrs. called me over to their house and told me to take home as many beets and I wanted. Needless to say, Jeff and I were pickling beets all week long! And just the other day she brought a box of beautiful butternut squashes to our church to share with everyone. I grabbed one.
So, I imagine you can see why we feel so fortunate to have such lovely neighbors on our block.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP with CHORIZO AND PISTACHIOS
This warm Fall soup with a kick is sure to make your taste buds happy.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 1 tsp olive oil
- salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste
- 1 and 1/2 inches of Spanish Paprika chorizo (be sure to get the hard kind that’s already been cooked, not the soft kind that needs to be cooked), casing removed and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green apple, peeled, cored, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- sour cream
- First, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds (I used a grapefruit spoon – it’s fantastic at scraping out seeds from various fruits and vegs). Coat the cut edges of the squash halves with oil and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until the flesh is very soft, about 35 to 40 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add chorizo and cook just long enough that it releases some fat into the pan. Remove chorizo but keep the fat. Add the onion and ginger to the hot pot and cook until the onion is browned, about 6 minutes. Add the apple and continue to cook until soft, another 3 minutes or so.
- When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add it to a blender or large food processor. Add the onion and apple mix and pour in enough broth to cover. Be careful not to overfill; work in batches if necessary. Process until very smooth and return to the pot.
- Stir in the remaining broth and bring to a simmer. Season with more salt and pepper if you like.
- Garnish with chorizo, sour cream and pistachios (if using).
GOOSEBERRIES. How can you not love that???