I don't know where you're sitting at the moment, but I'm in a cold, wet house (too early in the year to turn on the heat), watching the rain drizzle down. Last week we were 4 inches below normal for rainfall, this week we've made up the shortfall and pulled ahead by two inches. Need I say more.
This kind of weather makes me thing of one thing: soup. So here's my cure for the rainy day blues.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup (Serves 8 generously)
You can vary the spices any way you like. If you don't like heat, start with just 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cumin with black pepper to taste.
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sliced leek, white and pale green parts only
1 Tbs minced garlic
6 cups peeled and roughly diced butternut squash
3 cups peeled and roughly diced apples
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp adobo chili
6 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Creme Fraiche (or sour cream) and chopped chives for garnish
1 Melt the butter in a large pot over moderate heat and cook until it just starts to turn a light nut brown. Add the leeks and sauté until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté briefly -- until you can smell it.
2 Add the squash and apples, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook briefly -- a minute.
3 Add the broth, bring to a simmer, and cover partially. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 40 minutes. If you have a hand-held immersion blender, go ahead a puree the soup right in the pot. Otherwise, transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to serving temperature, and season with salt to taste.
4 Divide the soup among warmed bowls and garnish each portion with a dollop of creme fraiche and chopped chives. Serve immediately.