At around 6:00 the other night, Abby made her way into the kitchen to ask what she usually asks at 6:00 when I’m in the kitchen.
“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
Even though Andy had started hacking up a butternut squash about six hours earlier, even though I was standing there over a stock pot, wielding an immersion blender, minutes away from pureeing the cooked squash with apple into a lovely soup, I answered what I always answer when I’m not sure she’s going to like the answer.
“I don’t know yet.”
I had introduced the soup to the family last fall and I had the distinct recollection that her sister loved it. But I’m pretty sure Abby was lukewarm on it. And as far as I can tell, there’s no faster way to get her to reject something at the table than to give her an hour to think about exactly how lukewarm she was on it. The do-ask-don’t-tell policy is in place as much for my well-being as it is for hers. I can’t beat myself up for giving her something she doesn’t like if I didn’t know she didn’t like it, right? Not sure who I’m trying to convince here.
Butternut Squash Soup with Apples
…Which is still batting zero with Abby. This is a riff on Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, which is a riff on Silver Palate’s recipe. Totally back-pocket worthy.
In a Dutch oven or a soup pot, brown 1 chopped onion in olive oil. Add salt, pepper, a few fresh thyme leaves, 1 tablespoon curry powder (optional) and a pinch of cayenne if the kids are OK with it. Add one butternut squash (halved, peeled, seeded, and hacked up into 1-inch cubes; the pre-chopped bags will save you lots of time here) and 2 apples (peeled and cut into chunks) and enough chicken broth to cover it all by about a half inch. Bring to a boil, then simmer 30 minutes until squash chunks are tender. Puree with a handheld immersion blender, or in batches in the blender, adding apple cider (apple juice box?) or more broth until it reaches desired consistency. Serve and top with any combo of the following: walnuts, chives, creme fraiche (or sour cream).