Saturday, November 20, 2010
Butternut Squash Soup with Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
I know in one of my past entries I mentioned that pumpkin was one of my favorite fall ingredients, but butternut squash is definitely in the running as well! Every time I'm at a restaurant or an event that serves butternut squash soup I always order it. It tastes so good when the weather gets cold and crisp. I think the reason I haven't attempted to make the soup myself was because I thought it was complicated but this recipe was so easy. Butternut squash is tough to cut but the supermarket sells pre-peeled and pre-cut packages, so that makes it easier too. I plan on making this soup again soon! The original recipe calls for slices of French bread with Swiss cheese, but I thought warm mini ham and cheese sandwiches would be a nice addition.
Butternut Squash Soup with Side Salad and Mini Ham and Cheese Sandwiches
Adapted from Cooking Light
1 tablespoon butter
3 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs)
3/4 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups fat free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
Ham and Cheese Sandwiches:
16 Slices French Baguettes (about 1/4 inch thick)
8 slices of ham
8 slices of swiss cheese
2 tablespoon butter
1. To prepare soup, melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add squash, carrots, and onion; saute for 12 minutes. Add chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in half-and-half and salt.
2. Preheat broiler.
3. Place squash mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of lid (to allow steam to escape), and secure blender lid on blender. Place clean towel over opening in blender (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth. NOTE: I used a hand held blender instead, to prevent extra clean up.
4. To prepare toasts, spread butter evenly on each slice then arrange 8 pieces, butter side down, on a baking sheet. Spread dijon mustard on each piece of bread. Then layer half a slice of cheese, a piece of ham, then the other half slice of cheese. Close with the 8 remaining French bread slices, butter side up. Broil for 5 minutes, then flip sandwiches for 5 more minutes or until toasted. Make sure you keep an eye on the sandwiches, they will cook quickly. Yields 2 sandwiches per person and about 1 cup of soup.
For side salad:
Combine 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add 6 cups fresh spinach and 1/2 cup sliced red onion, and toss to coat.