Today I was brave enough to look in the vegetable drawer. And the boxes from the last week of the CSA – sitting in the cool of the garage.
I don’t know about you, but I never get through a big party or holiday meal without completely forgetting to serve something.
There were still a few things left. In fact, I found nearly two pounds of mushrooms – half shiitake, half cremini – that were supposed to be in the gravy, but then, this delicious vegetarian gravy was the one I made, and it used dried mushrooms.
There were three bottoms/bulbs from butternut squash. I use the long necks for my gratin, mandoline-d into perfect paperthin rounds. One of the four bulbs had already become the most delicious scone I’ve ever made – Butternut Squash Sage Scones.
Two slightly wrinkled fennel bulbs.
Russets, red skinned, Yukon golds, Beauregard sweet potatoes. I didn’t worry about the potatoes. Chanukah, and latkes, are just around the corner. But what to do with these other odds n ends?
I remembered this terrific post from Not Derby Pie, and her take on the Mushroom Conserva from Thomas Kellers ‘Ad Hoc At Home.’ Done and done. Now I have three pints of mushrooms for pizzas, pastas, sandwich condiment. It’s delicious and easy.
Before Thanksgiving, knowing I would need vegetable stock, I made this fantastic vegetable bouillon from Jennifer Perillo. I had everything I needed for a warming soup on this Monday evening. Paired with grilled cheese sandwiches (leftover challah, leftover Appalachian Tomme cheese, leftover cranberry sauce) it was a perfect dinner.
Well, it would have been more perfect if I had taken a picture.
Butternut, Apple and Fennel Soup
1 medium butternut squash or the bottom bulbs from three medium, long-necked butternut squash
3-4 shallots, minced
2 fennel bulbs, cubed, fronds removed and set aside
2 medium crisp tart apples, peeled, cored and cubed
2 tsp fresh thyme
4 c vegetable stock (of course you can use chicken stock, if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pierce the squash all over with a sharp knife. Place in a microwave safe dish and zap on high for 8-10 minutes until cooked through.
Allow the squash to cool for a few minutes while you get on with the rest of the soup.
Heat some olive oil in a small stockpot and cook the shallots until translucent.
Add the fennel and apple. Cook until softened. Add the squash, some fresh thyme, a few twists of the pepper mill. Cook for a few minutes, stirring often.
Add the stock. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and puree with an immersion blender or very carefully in your blender. Hot soup spatter is awful. Beware.
Return the pureed soup to the pot and bring up to heat.
Garnish with snips of the fennel frond.
Feel virtuous after all those pies.
Until tomorrow – when I’ll be making crab cakes with the crab I forgot to make into dip.