Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What to do with the soup!?

Hello! I’m back from blog blackout, and officially married! That sort of leads me to the dilemma of this post. I made 312 oz. of butternut sage parmesan soup as an appetizer for the wedding. Although I thought that it was going to be just enough for 85 people in 2 ounce shooters, it turns out that there was WAAAAAAYY too much. I am now left with about 200 oz. of butternut soup that I want to use before it goes bad. I put a lot of effort into it and I don’t want to just throw it out. So I’m trying to find innovative ways to use it up. There’s only so much soup two people can eat!
So I’ll start at the beginning. The original recipe starts with 2 butternut squashes (medium), 2 medium yellow onions (diced), 3 cloves of garlic (smashed and minced), about 2 -3 tbsp of fresh sage (chopped), 6 -8 cups chicken or vegetable stock, ¼ cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, and salt & pepper to taste. If you want to make this vegetarian, you don’t have to use the Parmesan, just add more salt. If you’re planning on having this as a cold soup you have to over-salt it. You can even over-salt it when it’s cold and not when you’re making it so that you have a more versatile batch.

First, peel and cube the squash into about ¾ inch cubes (removing the seeds). Then, fry the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent, and add about 2/3 of the sage, sauté for a little bit longer. Add the squash and stir for about 5 minutes until you get the sense that the squash is starting to cook and the vegetables are generating steam. Add the stock (veg or bird) and stir vigorously so that if you have any caramelization, then you’re lifting it into the soup. Let the liquid come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the squash looks like it will collapse under your sternest gaze. Then you can either blend it in batches in a conventional blender, or in the pot with an immersion blender. Add the remaining sage and parmesan at the end of the blending. Blend a wee bit more until the sage is broken up and the cheese is incorporated, then season with salt and pepper according to your liking. You probably won’t need much salt, but if you’re not using the cheese then you will.

That was the original recipe. It’s actually my first here on C & O that can be vegetarian. And if you want to translate it into the risotto that I made without meat, just skip the lamb and pancetta, you can easily braise shallots until they caramelize and turn into lovely sweet wisps.

Before I get to solution #1 for all that soup, just one or two or three gratuitous wedding related photos…Please excuse the beefyness of my arm in the 2nd picture, it’s clearly something someone did to the image in photoshop, I don’t really look that way… yeah, photoshop…

This is our awesome food that we had catered by Zee Company, (product placement). Their food is tremendous and Michael and his crew / family are super!

This is us. Hot stuff, no?

This is our awesome cake with the Han and Leia Topper. It was made for us by Marlyn at Montreal Confections. (Who is also awesome!) Thankfully for us, some people left before the cake was cut so that means we have leftovers. HEH HEH HEH... suckers, they don't know what a sweet treat they missed!

Ok, down to the real issue at hand... This is how much soup we have. Those 2 giant containers and the substantially less full one to the right. No human can eat that much before it spoils.

In order to incorporate it into other foods so that we can eat it without getting bored, I made a butternut risotto with braised lamb shoulder (lamb was also braised in squash soup). To start the braise, I cubed a 1 cm thick slab of pancetta. (But as I mentioned before, if you want to go meatless, skip this part and just brown the shallots in olive oil and deglaze with the vermouth. Then throw it in the oven and it will add a sweet and savory umami flavour without the addition of meat.

The afore-mentioned shallots. I sliced them in half after this when ready to add to pan.

LAMB LAMB LAMB LAMB. If you buy it with a bone, keep the bone in the pan to extract extra flavour and texture.

Oooh pancetta in a pan. Sizzle.

Lamb is added to brown.

This 1.5L bottle of Vermouth is also a casualty of the wedding. I bought it thinking that people (meaning me) would want martinis. No one had even one. So I'm using it in cooking now... and maybe a little for drinking too...

This is a post-deglaze photo. Also the shallots were added.

And then I added a hearty scoop o'soup. Please disregard the gob I dropped on the stovetop.

Meex meex meex (Translation: mix mix mix). Throw it in a 375° - 350°F oven, covered, for about half and hour. Until the meat is ridiculously tender and the vermouth / squash brew has reduced.

Then we start the risotto. Coat the rice in some hot olive oil and stir it around for about 30 seconds on med/high.

Then I added the soup, I also diluted it with some water because once it starts getting absorbd by the rice, it WILL stick. Add the liquid, whether it is the one illustrated here, or your own brew, ladle by ladle. If you were to add the entire content of liquid at once, it would simply boil and not have a chance to release all of its starches to form a proper risotto.

Here is a closeup of the finished risotto, it takes about 30 minutes and LOTS of stirring.

The lamb emerges from the oven the onions are all melty and there's a super savoury reduced brown ring around the pan.

Here is the final product. In retrospect, I probably should have used a different coloured bowl.
Everything got mixed together and then topped with a little parmesan.
It was SO SUPER GOOD. I can't even remember if poor Kyle got to try any. (I ate the rest of it the next day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... )

My next project for the soup is a roast vegetable lasagna using the soup (mixed with tomatoes) as the sauce. I don't know if I will blog it though, it's a multi-day project and I don't know if I want to put you through that. : )
Well anyways, enjoy the pictures, and be sure to check out the links for Zee Company and Montreal Confections. Also, if anyone wants any squash soup... we have lots.
More posts to come soon! I promise!!!!


  1. Candace -

    Just linked through to your blog via Facebook. Congratulations to you and the lucky man on your wedding (you look gorgeous).

    I've spent the better part of the past day reading through your blog... I'm addicted - it's great and inspiring. Do you ship food to Philadelphia? If so, I'll take some of that soup off of your hands.

    xox Laurel (aka your grade 1 locker buddy)

  2. Wow! Thanks Laurel! I don't know if I would be allowed to ship the soup cross border, and imagine if it leaked?! Thanks as well for the congratulations, I will be posting the professional photos on FB soon.
    Well I'm glad I've helped to entertain today, I'll post again soon. In the meantime, send me a note, I want to know what you've been up to :)

  3. Congratulations on your marriage! I think marriage is the next best invention after bacon.

    -fun to find another local blogger.

  4. Hi Candace,
    I am so happy for you! I just saw the pictures from your wedding.
    I also want to wish you Happy Birthday! I know I am a few days early, but I did not want to forget. I miss you a lot!