Butternut Squash Soup

You know I really love a recipe that is short and simple, just a few ingredients and you’re good to go. This is one of those, super simple to make and doesn’t take a lot of time. Well except for the roasting part. This is a savory soup as opposed to one on the sweet side, the crushed red chili gives it a subtle kick. The longer you let it cook the better the flavor. So you can make it quickly and eat it right away, make it in advance, or make it in a slow cooker. Again I love to use my Instant Pot 6 Qt .  It can also be made vegetarian if you use vegetable stock instead of chicken. Enjoy!

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Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 medium size butternut squash
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp crushed red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • olive oil

Directions

Cut the squash in half and seed it. Rub the cut side with olive oil and lightly salt it. Place it on a cookie sheet, cut side up and roast at 400 degrees until tender (about an hour). Cool.

Scoop out the cooked squash using a spoon and place in a blender with the chick stock. Puree until smooth. Place the puree in a pot and add the half & half, chili flakes, onion and garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Heat on medium until hot, about 20 minutes.

Chicken Pot Pie

There’s nothing like a pot pie on a chilly fall night. I like this chicken pot pie which is based on a Martha Stewart recipe. I modified it somewhat, mostly the “topping” as she calls for puff pastry but I prefer pie dough, croissant dough, or biscuit dough (store-bought is fine by me). The ingredient that Martha uses that really make this recipe different is a little cognac. It really add a richness to the pot pie. Now you can also make this vegetarian by leaving out the chicken and using vegetable stock instead.

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Chicken Pot Pie

  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 1 lbs of potatoes (I like the small yellow ones) cut into small pieces, about 1/2 inch
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chicken breast cut into 1 inch pieces*
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup frozen green beans, small pieces
  • 5 oz mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/2  cup cognac
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 or so sprigs of thyme (tie these into a bundle)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Dough of your choice (I use store-bought)

Directions:

In a large heavy-bottom pot, again I love my Le Creuset Dutch Oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion, potatoes, and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and carrots are tender (about 8 minutes). Add the mushrooms and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the cognac and cook for a minute. Add the flour and cook for another minute, stirring constantly. Pour in chicken stock, milk, and thyme bundle. Bring it to a simmer, stirring, until it’s thick and bubbly.  Add chicken and green beans. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Now transfer it to either a casserole dish or ramekins, which is what I like to use, removing the thyme bundle. Now roll out your dough and cut it to fit your dish and place it over your dish. Cut a hole in the middle so the pot pie(s) can vent.

Bake in a 400 degree oven, loosely covered with foil, for 10 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Now you can make the crust nice and golden brown by adding an egg wash. 1 egg and about a teaspoon of water whisked together and brushed onto the dough. I recommend putting your dish on a cookie sheet in case it spills over, it makes clean up easier.

*Now for the chicken you have 2 options. You can precook it, which I do using a Anova Sous Vide (I’ll be posting about what this is soon). Or cook it before anything else. In your heavy pot add 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken, that’ll take about 4 or 5 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside, then follow the above recipe.

Mushroom Risotto

Risotto is a pretty versatile and easy dish to make. You can add all sorts of things to it to make it as tasty as you like. Personally I like a nice mushroom version. Add chicken, peas, asparagus, etc to make it go even further. I’ve got a couple of “tricks” that I like to use with mine. The first comes from Giada De Laurentiis. In one of her risotto recipes she tops hers with crispy prosciutto which is delicious! The second is truffle oil. And it generally only take 30 minutes.

Mushroom Risotto

  • 3 plus cups of chicken stock (or vegie stock if you want vegetarian)
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • 1/2 white wine*
  • 3 tbsp butter divided (2 tbsp and 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 8 oz mushrooms (I like crimini)
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic (or more if you like garlic)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp truffle oil

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Directions:

In a medium pan bring the chicken stock to a simmer.

In a heavy pot, I like a Le Creuset Dutch Oven myself, melt 2 tbsp of butter with 2 tbsp of olive oil (medium high). Saute the mushroom for about 6 minutes. Add onion and garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the last tbsp of butter and the rice, toast the rice for about 2 minutes. Add in the wine and deglaze the pan. Once the wine is pretty much evaporated start adding the chicken stock a ladle full at a time, stirring constantly. Once that’s almost evaporated add another ladle of chicken stock. Keep this up until the rice is tender. Note: if you feel like the stock is getting too low but the rice isn’t close to being done add some water to it and bring it quickly up to a simmer again.

Once the rice is tender pull it off the heat and add the cheese. Stir until it’s melted and then add the truffle oil. Service garnishing with the prosciutto if desired (instructions below).

If you wanted to add additional ingredients, such as chicken etc., add those about 1/2 way through. I pre-cook the chicken if I’m going to add it, this prevents it from getting over cooked.

Prosciutto:

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Put 4 or 5 slices of prosciutto on the cookie sheet and bake for about 10 mins or until crisp.

*For the wine. Pick something you like to drink (duh) first and foremost. Then base it on the flavors you’d like in your risotto. If you want a creamy, buttery risotto; pick a chardonnay. If you want something a little sharper to match the parmesan, pick Sauvignon Blanc. Or my favorite, Champaign.