Halloween reached a fever pitch in our home this year. Let’s just say that between October 1 and October 30, we were ghosted 13 times. Thirteen times! For those unfamiliar with “ghosting” or “booing,” the activity involves kids sneaking up to your front door after dark, ringing the bell and dashing away. They leave a bag of candy on the stoop and a ghost taped to the door. This innocent act of mischievous fun instigates a mad scramble within our house. As the doorbell is still chiming, my children bolt out of the front door, into the darkness, to try to catch the lovely youngsters who have left such a kind treat. Needless to say, that at 9pm when this ghosting generally takes place, my children are freshly showered and in pajamas. Therefore, this race is inevitably with bare feet, wet heads and could go on for blocks. Oh, and did I mention that each time your house is ghosted, you are expected to ghost two more homes? This left my children begging to go ghosting every night in October. It’s no wonder that our pumpkins never got carved.
With my enthusiasm sapped and creativity running low, all I could think of for our Halloween meal was “orange.” Or, “orange and basic” to be precise which landed me at a Butternut Squash and Leek Soup that I have been making for 24 years–if that doesn’t date me, I don’t know what would. It has no curry, no apples nor crispy shallots. The soup isn’t fancy but it is tasty, comforting and hits the spot throughout the fall and into the cold winter months. This soup is perfect when paired with some crusty bread and a nice salad, as a simple dinner during a Sunday football marathon. It also makes a great lunch.
Now I just hope that my neighborhood doesn’t start some “Gobble, Gobble” trend that will have us scrambling in the dark and taping turkeys to neighbors front doors for the next 24 days. Uh oh, I may have just stumbled onto something. Shhhh.
- 4 1/2 lbs cubed butternut squash (bought pre-cut for ease)
- 1 Tbls olive oil
- 5 Tbls unsalted butter
- 4 large leeks, white and tender green parts, cleaned and sliced into half moons
- 7 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
- 1 1/2-2 tsp salt, to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- sour cream, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F. Toss cubed squash with olive oil and season with salt. Place on a baking dish and bake til tender, approximately 45 minutes, tossing once mid-way through.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy stockpot, melt butter over low heat. Add leeks and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Discard thyme springs.
- Add squash and chicken broth to stockpot. Simmer over moderate heat for 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender (or food processor or blender), puree the soup until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.