My parents are picky eaters. Consequently my sister and I were/are picky eaters. And unsurprisingly, so are my children. Coincidence?
Growing up it was simple- broiled chicken, steak, spaghetti and meatballs, brisket, turkey, repeat. The food was delicious, but it didn’t vary too much. We would spice it up with the Chinese buffet at Joyce Chen once a week, but home cooking was a limited menu.
So these days, when my parents come over for dinner, it’s always fun to throw them something they haven’t seen before to see if they will actually eat it. This past week I went out on a limb and served a butternut squash/pumpkin soup. My mom bravely went for it right away, and I was pleasantly surprised when she not only ate it, but liked it, and told my dad to have some! My father, whose aversion to anything dairy or cream-related I inherited, for some reason was convinced that the soup had cream in it, but after I assured him it was dairy-free, even he had some… and liked it as well.
Chalk it up as a victory for fall-inspired Shabbat cooking.
In light of this small culinary miracle, perhaps I can now call it “Chanukah Soup” or “Nes Gadol Hayah Po Soup” (from the dreidel’s letters meaning “a great miracle happened here”).
Whatever you call it, I suggest you make it this week at Thanksgiving. It’s supremely easy and decidedly tasty. Enjoy.
Two large butternut squashes
2 cups vegetable stock (or, better yet, turkey juices from a roasting bird)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper as desired
Peel, dice, and boil the butternut squash for 20-30 minutes, or until soft and malleable.
Drain the squash in a collander. Mash the squash into a pasty mess and add to a large soup pot.
Add the liquid stock (veggie of otherwise) and cook over low to medium heat- DO NOT BOIL.
Add cinnamon and stir. Let it get warm and steamy, and serve it hot.
For a subtle variation, consider using one butternut squash and one can of organic pumpkin. The taste will be a little more interesting and it can still work. Alternately, you can use a mix of butternut, delicatta, and carnival squash together for a full squash medley.
Also, it’s great to serve this as a complement to a turkey dinner, so go ahead and take the turkey juices right out the roasting pan instead of using traditional stock from a can or carton- it’s vastly superior.
Finally, you can make it chunkier or soupier by varying the amount of liquid you use. Experiment with different amounts to see how you like it.