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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Soup and Sandwich

It's been cold here.  Really cold.  And when it's cold, there's nothing more satisfying than a bowl of soup.  At least that's what I think.

So yesterday, as I was doodling around my kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner, I happened across a package of already cut-up butternut squash.  Honestly, I have no recollection of buying it, but there it was in the crisper -- calling out to me.

"Make me into a nice winter squash soup", it said.

Well, butternut squash soup can't talk, but if it could, that's what it would have been saying.

I had an old Ina Garten recipe for Winter Squash Soup that I hadn't made in years, so I was ready to roll.  This soup is so easy that it's practically criminal.  It's quick too, and my new Vita Mix blender made quick work of pureeing at the end.

As nice as the soup was, it needed a little something to go with it.

In another a-ha moment, I pulled a small piece of filet out of the freezer and roasted it up.  I have to admit that I didn't have a fresh baguette hanging around, so I had to pop out to pick one up.  Honestly, I didn't mind.  There's always something I need at the market and I was getting a little case of cabin fever.  I suited up (coat, scarf, gloves) and headed out.

The cold weather was made far more bearable because I knew there was a nice hot bowl of soup waiting for me when I got home.

Recipe:  Winter Squash Soup
(Barefoot in Paris)


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
1 (15 - ounce) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
3 cups homemade chicken stock or canned broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup half - and - half
Creme fraiche, grated Gruyere, or croutons (see Note), for serving (optional)


Heat the butter and oil in a heavy - bottomed stockpot, add the onions, and cook over medium - low heat for 10 minutes, or until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree, butternut squash, chicken stock, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over medium - low heat for about 20 minutes, until the butternut squash is very tender. Process the mixture through the medium blade of a food mill. Return to the pot, add the half - and - half, and heat slowly. If the soup needs more flavor, add another teaspoon of salt. Serve hot with garnishes, if desired.

Cook's Note: To serve with croutons, remove the crusts from 2 slices of white bread, cut them in 1/2-inch cubes, and saute them in 1 tablespoon of butter until browned. Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe:Truffled Fillet of Beef Sandwiches
(Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)


1 1/2 to 2 pounds fillet of beef, trimmed and tied
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
2 French baguettes, 18 to 20 inches long
3 ounces black truffle butter, at room temperature
1 (2-ounce) chunk good Parmesan cheese
Fresh baby arugula


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. (Be sure your oven is very clean!)

Place the beef on a sheet pan and pat the outside dry with a paper towel. Spread the butter all over the beef with your hands. Sprinkle the beef evenly with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Roast for exactly 22 minutes for rare and 25 minutes for medium-rare.

Remove the beef from the oven, cover it tightly with aluminum foil, and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Remove the strings and slice the fillet about 1/4-inch thick.

Open the baguettes lengthwise but not all the way through. Spread the bottom halves generously with the truffle butter. Top with a layer of sliced beef and sprinkle it with salt and pepper.

Using a vegetable peeler, shave the Parmesan into thin shards and scatter the shards over the sliced beef on each sandwich. Finish with a sprinkling of arugula leaves. Fold the tops of the sandwiches over, cut each baguette diagonally in 3 or 4 sandwiches, and serve right away.

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