Inspired by the turning leaves and colder weather, I'm planning soup for supper. I've had a butternut squash in the crisper for a couple weeks now, waiting for this particular idea to pop into my head. Originally, I planned to bake and mash the squash like potatoes, which is great, too, but today soup seems even better!
Recipe for--um, what shall I call this?--Butternut Cheese Soup!
I already cut the butternut into fourths and deseeded it, turned the open sides down in a glass, baking dish and added about a 1/2 in. of salted water. It's baking right now at 375F. Takes about an hour to be soft enough to mash, which is what I want.
With that done, I have to make the cheese sauce, a simple roux to which I will add shredded cheese, sharp cheddar, because that's what I like.
Here's how I make the sauce (this is mostly for Kami):
1. Begin with a melted fat/oil like margarine, butter, bacon drippings, depending on what flavor and how many heavy calories you want.
2. In equal amount to the hot/warm oil, add a helping of flour. So if you used a tablespoon of margarine, use a tablespoon of flour. This stirs up into a paste.
3. Now add a liquid; water (if you don't want flavor) milk, cream, beef, chicken or vegetable broth. You add only a few tablespoons at this time. Let it sit in the pan to warm before you try stirring it in. I don't know why, but I like to use a wooden spoon. The first "stir-in" is the most important. If you can make it creamy at this point, then you don't have to worry so much about how fast or how much liquid you add after that. Continue to add the liquid until you've gotten to the volume you want as your sauce or gravy.
4. Important: Taste and salt and season. I like pepper in gravy, for example. For stroganoff, I add paprika, etc.
5. You want to let this heat for a while so the flour cooks (uncooked flour tastes pasty) and the sauce thickens. O, and you can't stop stirring at this point. It's stir and serve.
If you use only butter, flour, salt and milk/cream, then you have what my mom called white sauce. She made it for nearly every meal. Now if I add shredded cheese to melt, then I've got cheese sauce.
AND, if I puree butternut squash and incorporate that, I'll have soup!