Friday, January 4, 2013

Accidental Spicy Squash Soup

On the first day getting back to work after the holidays; I did about seven hours worth of painting on a book cover, and about an hour of catching up on emails from over the break. Even with the convenience of working from a home studio, my time in the kitchen has to get cut back some on work days, so around 1 PM I put leftover celery greens, herbs, and all of the innards from the NYE chicken in a pot and let it do its thing for a few hours, becoming stock.

I think homemade stock is best used quickly after it's made, so I went through my fridge and grabbed the squash that needed to be used right away. Fresh chicken broth, a pound and a half of squash, cream... squash soup? Yeah, I got this.

Except that while I was letting the ingredients simmer, I got distracted and didn't stir the pot often enough, and the contents at the bottom burned a little bit. Not enough to make it bad, but enough to noticeably change the flavor.

So what started out with intentions of being a sweet soup turned into a spicy, smoky one. I steered into the skid, deciding to work with the charred flavor instead of fighting it, and added a chipotle spice blend (specifically Penzey's Northwoods Fire) instead of honey. To my surprise, it ended up tasting very good. Since I can't post a recipe with "accidentally burn the squash" as one of the preparation steps, this will just have to be one of those lesson posts. The most important take away is to cook with all the senses. ALWAYS taste your cooking. If I hadn't smelled and tasted the mild burned aroma, I wouldn't have been able to correct for it... also having a sense of when to stir helps, but hey, I'm learning.

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