Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cooking Class! - Butternut Squash & Apple Soup

 ..... Have you ever noticed that little button up in my header?
My "35 by 35" list is a list of 35 things I want to do before I turn 35 years old.  
I made this list shortly after starting the blog back in January of this year .... You can click on the button above to check out the list in it's entirety, but today, I'm just going to focus on #27 ... Take a cooking class with my mom.  
Guess what!?  I can check it off the list!  

My mom and I both really enjoy cooking.  She has taken several really great cooking classes over the years, and I've always wanted to take one with with her -- but for one reason or another, I've never been able to make it happen.  
Until now!
We live right next to a quaint little German town, which hosts one of the biggest Oktoberfest celebrations around.  In the town is a lovely restaurant called The Glockenspiel.  (Do you know what a glockenspiel is...?  It's a kind of percussion instrument, similar to a very large xylophone.)  
Learn something new every day, don't ya!?  
Anyway.  Above this cute little restaurant is a door which opens at certain hours of the day to reveal some little German figures, dancing merry-go-round-style, to the music of a glockenspiel .... hence, the name of the restaurant.  

We really enjoy dining at this restaurant, particularly for special occasions ... and their soup is TO. DIE. FOR.  
The handy hubby even loves the soup .... and that's saying something because he pretty much likes meat and potatoes.  Soup...?  Not so much.  

So when I heard about a soup class being offered at the restaurant, I jumped at the chance to be included!  
And my mom and I -- along with a few other friends -- were lucky to snag spots in the class!  
Our first class was a few days ago ..... we had a BLAST!  
And we made two different soups that were both DE-LISH!  

Our favorite (which is also a restaurant-wide favorite) was the Butternut Squash & Apple Soup.  
I wasn't thinking ahead and didn't bring my camera along, so an instagram shot is the best I can do ....
And let me tell you ... that picture does NOT do the soup justice AT ALL.  
It is ridiculously yummy.  
Want the recipe!?  

Butternut Squash & Apple Soup:

1 large or 2 small butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 medium carrots, sliced thin
2 Gala apples, peeled and diced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 T salt
1 1/2 T cinnamon
1 cup chicken stock paste
1 gallon water

Combine all ingredients and cook on medium-high, until carrots are cooked (approximately 30 minutes).
Blend mixture (we used an immersion blender ... and now I WANT one!)

Make a simple rue:  heat 1/2 lb. butter until bubbly, then mix in flour and stir to combine well.
Add the rue to the soup, mixing with a wire whisk.  
Add desired amount of heavy cream to think soup to desired consistency.  (I think we probably used about 3-4 cups!)  

YUM.  YUM.  and more YUM.  

A few things to note....
1) Yes, this makes a HUGE batch of soup ... like enough to serve the restaurant for the day.  
2) We used a ginormous stock pot (which probably wouldn't even FIT on my cooktop!).
3) Before you make this in your home, you'll want to AT LEAST halve it, which I think would fit nicely in a "regular-sized" soup/stock pot.  
4) Notice that it calls for chicken stock paste .... I had never even heard of such a thing before!  But you may also notice it calls for a whole lot of water, so just using regular chicken stock (in lieu of the paste and water) would work fine, as well -- though the chef highly recommended the paste!

The soup is creamy, rich, sweet, and savory -- all at the same time.  Oh ... and did I mention SIMPLE!? 
Throw some crusty bread on the side, and it's definitely enough for a meal - even though it may not look it!  
Eat ... and be merry!


Thank you for your comments!
I love EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. :-)