Buttercup Squash Soup & the Boulder Farmer's Market

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What makes you giddy?  This question was posed after several bottles of wine and many microbrews at a recent dinner party.  And if you know me, it won't come as a surprise that my response was the farmer's market!  I am sure Rob rolled his eyes, but it is true - there is just something about the stacks of vegetables, the flowers, the Colorado-made pasta, hummus, cheese and burritos, and the joy of wandering around, watching the other market-goers.  In the case of last weekend you can also add sunshine and the rainbow of fall colors to that list.  The Saturday Boulder Farmer's Market and fall in Colorado is not to be missed.

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The fall weather continues to inspire my cooking and since my parents left for vacation and bequeathed the remaining squash in their garden to me, I am inundated with buttercup, acorn and butternut squash.  No complaints here!  The original recipe for this soup called for a mix of butternut and acorn squash (4 cups of each).  I made it instead with 8 cups of buttercup squash and it was creamy and smooth (without any cream, I might add) and the flavor was intense.  If you can't find buttercup squash, I am sure this will be equally as good with acorn, butternut, or whatever you can find at the market.  The original recipe also called for adding 1/4 cup of whipping cream and sugar.  If you taste the soup and think it needs to be sweetened, go for it.

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I garnished mine with a dollop of Homemade Ricotta.  I made a second batch of the ricotta and conducted an experiment.  Instead of using 4 cups of whole milk, I used 2 cups of skim milk and 2 cups of whole milk.  Truthfully, there was no perceptible change... and I feel a little less guilty adding it to, literally, everything that I eat.

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Buttercup Squash Soup

Yield = 8 servings

Adapted from December 1996 Bon Appétit 

Ingredients

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 large garlic cloves, chopped

3 14 1/2-ounce cans low-salt chicken broth (about 6 cups)

8 cups 1-inch pieces peeled buttercup squash (about 3 pounds)

1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage

Preparation

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add broth, all squash and herbs; bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender or with an immersion blender.  Return soup to same pot and bring to a simmer.  Season with salt and pepper.  The soup can be made 1 day ahead.  Chill.  Rewarm over medium heat before serving.

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