The Vermont Cynic

Dining with Dodson


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Soup in the winter is exquisite. It tends to comfort one with its rich flavors and full body reviving each frozen sense.

Soup is also simple to make.

By either taking fresh ingredients or frozen leftovers, one has the opportunity to make something delicious by simply tossing everything into a simmering pot.

I made butternut-maple soup by accident.

It began as a side dish, a roast of squash and parsnips. I began by sautéeing a few handfuls of chopped garlic in a pool of butter. When the garlic began to brown, I took the chopped up pieces of butternut squash and parsnips and placed them in the butter.

This recipe requires a large amount time for the roasting: the parsnips and squash simmer on the stove, or in the oven, for approximately 40 minutes, just enough time to allow them to soften.

But something was off.

The vegetables didn’t appear roasted nor did they taste it. It was as if I had made vegetable pulp, something I was sure no one would want to eat.

So, trying to save my recipe I threw it in the blender with three cups of chicken stock, ultimately forming a soup.

It was ridiculously good. The mixture of maple syrup and butternut squash along with the fusion of rosemary and garlic is superb.

This soup is the warmth we miss in winter.

Moliere once said, “I live on good soup, not on fine words.” Technically, Moliere was right: one must eat to survive, and literature does not have the means to sustain life.

But this soup combined with “fine words” just might make this Vermont winter a little bit more bearable.

Butternut-maple soup:

Ingredients:

2 cups of peeled butternut squash in 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds)2 cups of peeled parsnips in 1/4- to 1/3-inch cubes (about 12 ounces)6 tablespoons butter3/4 cup pure maple syrup2 garlic cloves, minced1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary1 teaspoon salt1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper2-3 cups chicken stock (depending on which type of consistency is one prefers)

Preparation:Place butter in large pot. Add the garlic and sauté on medium heat garlic until garlic is golden brown. Do not burn.Add the pieces of butternut squash, parsnips and maple syrup to the pot and cover with a lid.After approximately 40 minutes, add the rosemary and simmer for another five to 10 minutes.Remove pot from heat and transfer contents to blender (caution: contents hot).Add chicken stock in segments (1/2 cup each seg ment) and blend until smooth.Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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Dining with Dodson