Indian summer in the mountains. Everywhere I go, people are grinning ear to ear as they ride their bikes, walk their dogs, and gaze at the spectacular fall colors.
The town of Jackson, as seen from Snow King on a balmy fall evening.
Locals are spending every spare minute outdoors, soaking up the weak sunshine, and enjoying a break from the crowds of summer. Seasoned Jackson Hole residents know what comes next here in the Tetons: rain/sleet/hail/snow all in the course of an afternoon. Wind that will knock you off your bike. Mud that gets tracked into your house for weeks. Dirty dogs. The weeks that seem like months spent waiting for snow, real snow.
The view from Phillips Pass.
It may still be 70 degrees and sunny, but my fall appetite still wants soup. Butternut Squash Soup. I love Butternut Squash Soup, but my kids "hate" it. So I make them this Mexican take on Butternut Squash Soup, and tell them that it's pumpkin, which they love, not squash (yuck). Works like a charm. Shhhhhh.
Ellen mountain bikes down the Putt-Putt trail.
Chipotle peppers in adobo give this soup a surprising spice and depth of flavor. This is a soup to serve as a main meal, perhaps with some cheese quesadillas, or a grilled cheese sandwich. It is creamy and filling, but contains no cream. It will make you feel virtuously healthy and deceptively sneaky as your kids tuck in to their "pumpkin soup".
Fall colors in my neighborhood.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Mexican Butternut Squash Soup
This recipe is adapted from an old Martha Stewart Living issue, as part of the Fit To Eat column. I have been making this soup for over 10 years, and have not been able to mess it up, unless I use too many chipotles. Chipotle peppers in adobo can be very spicy, so it may be prudent to use just one pepper at first. Save the other pepper and add it later after you've tasted the soup, or serve it on the side.
- 1 medium sized butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
- 6 cups chicken broth, homemade if you have it
- 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter
- 3 cups chopped leeks (or substitute 1 chopped yellow onion)
- 1 tsp. kosher or coarse salt
- 1 tsp. minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. chili powder
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeds and ribs removed, minced
- 6 sprigs of cilantro for the base, plus more chopped cilantro to garnish
- Sour cream, or creme fraiche, to garnish
- Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Slice into 1 inch thick slices, then dice into 1 inch cubes.
It's not elegant when I start attacking a squash.
You can probably guess that I'm a surgeon by trade.
This may seem like a lot of work, but it's worth it, I promise!
2. Place the squash cubes in a large saucepan and cover with broth. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.
3. In another large sauce pan, saute the leeks and1/2 tsp of the salt in the butter over medium low heat. Cook for 30 minutes or so, until soft but not overly browned.
4. Add garlic, cumin and chili powder to the leeks. Saute for 1 minute.
5. Add the squash and its broth to the leeks. Add tomatoes, cilantro sprigs, another 1/2 tsp. salt, and the chipotles. Bring to a boil.
6. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
7. Cool slightly, then puree with an immersion blender, or pour the soup into a food processor or a blender to puree.
8. Return soup to the saucepan and heat through. Add more broth to thin if needed. Garnish with a few dollops of sour cream or creme fraiche and a few tsp. of chopped cilantro.
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I bet some fried corn tortillas strips would make a nice garnish too.
I hope everyone is savoring this gorgeous Fall!
Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule or a cook. Cowboy Saying