Beauty, Florida Butternut Squash looks like a Melon
Most fruits and vegetables are beautiful in appearance, whether we like them or not, they are colorful and shapely. I said, most...a few are not. The one I have in mind is a root vegetable with incredible flavor and versatility, but, damn, it's ugly!! Celeriac (even it's name sounds like a disease!) or celery root, a gnarly, lumpy, hairy, grotesque beast, is, in fact, a true taste delight. It is good alone, but it adds magic to other ingredients.
Celeriac is packed with good nutrition too, fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, magnesium, just for starters! I especially like it mashed with potatoes, stir-fried with fennel, or roasted in a medley of other root vegetables.
Today's soup has Celeriac, the beast, coupled with a glorious, local variety of Butternut Squash, the beauty.
The squash is a Florida type butternut, with the characteristic butternut color and smooth skin, but the shape is ovoid, and it has a hollow seed filled hole in the center like a melon. When it is cut, the aroma is that of fresh, sweet melon, too. I had to hold myself back from just eating it raw!! I found it at my local organic market..I've never seen it before, but will surely seek it out again! I found a small celery root there too and bought it not knowing exactly what I would make with it, but certain that I would love whatever it happened to be.
Inside of Butternut, like a pumpkin or melon
My usual fall butternut soup is with leek and apple and/ or cheddar cheese. Sometimes I like to use a rutabaga with the squash too. Today, I used the celeriac, an apple and some shallot and onion since I had no leeks. The result was as comforting and even more flavorful than the usual., in fact, there was no need to add an herb, salt or anything else. The sweetness of the squash, apple and celery root is amazing! The beast is indeed a prince!!
Two Beauties and the Beast
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST SOUP
- 1/2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1" pieces
- 2 leeks or 1/2 onion and 1 large shallot, chopped
- 1 apple, a tart variety is preferred, peeled and cut into pieces
- 1 small celery root, peeled (ugh) and cut into 1" pieces
- 1/4 cup apple cider or some yellow or orange fruit juice
- 3-4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
Put all the ingredient except the broth into a soup pot. Cover and "sweat "the vegetables over medium heat. Just let them soften a little, especially the onion or leek.
Add the broth and cover and simmer until all vegetables are soft, about 1/2 hour.
Buzz in the blender or food processor, or use an immersion blender. You can puree this until smooth or let it stay a little "chunky". Garnish as you wish, chopped apple, toasted nuts, sauteed mushrooms or parsley.
Enticing Aroma and Metamorphosis of the Beast!
Variations: Add some ginger or nutmeg for a warm spicy flavor.
Add some jalapeño for a snappy "kick" or some evaporated milk for a creamy, velvety texture.