“Things taste better in small houses.” – Queen Victoria
Her words must have struck a chord with me, because I found the quote scrawled across the back of this recipe. I do not remember when or why I wrote it down.
Maybe because I live in a small apartment, and I wanted to remind myself to remind anyone I cook for of their great luck. “Things taste better in small houses!”
Maybe I liked the idea that it evokes a feeling of comfort. I imagine a small cozy house with a fire in the hearth, a meal on the table, and no cares in the world for the evening. The image fits with my notion that dark and chilly November marks the beginning of comfort food season.
November also marks the start of 12 Weeks of Winter Squash. Two years ago, I invited myself to join a group of bloggers who posted a winter squash recipe once a week from November through January. I found myself looking forward to my weekly winter squash post at this time last year, and this November was no different.
Our group this year is not as large as it once was. In fact, I may post recipes alone for the next few weeks. This made me wonder if I should post at all. When I am about to do something I do not know if I should do – like hijack the 12 Weeks of Winter Squash group – I always ask myself to image the worst case scenario.
If I move to this city, what is the worst that can happen? I will feel lonely.
If I get this tattoo, what is the worst that can happen? I will look ridiculous if I live to be an old lady, and Mom will never speak to me again. (That is probably overly dramatic. She will probably just not speak to me for a week).
If I post 12 winter squash recipes by myself, what is the worst that can happen? I will post 12 winter squash recipes. On to the soup.
The mole sauce (as in [moh-ley] sauce, not [mohl] sauce) gives this soup a special appeal. Dubbed “the curry of Mexico” by The Kitchn, every mole sauce is a bit different. There is no standard recipe for the sauce, and it is not unusual for mole to include upwards of 20 ingredients.
What I am getting at here is you are probably going to need to buy a mole paste or sauce, and it probably won’t be easy to find. I looked in a couple of places before I found a bottle of mole sauce tucked away on a bottom shelf at my Whole Foods store. Keep an eye out for it if you would like to make this soup.
Then enjoy it in a small house for optimal taste. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Soup with Mole and Peppers
Yield 2 servings
- 4 cups of diced butternut squash (about one medium squash)
- 1-2 tablespoons oil of choice (canola, olive, etc.)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped onion (about one small onion)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons mole paste
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional garnishes: sour cream, plain yogurt, scallions
- Toss the diced butternut squash with a bit of the oil and place on a baking sheet.
- Roast the squash in an oven heated to 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes or until soft.
- When the squash is cool enough to work with, transfer it to a bowl and use a fork to mash it until more or less smooth. You should have about 1 cup of squash.
- In a medium-size saucepan, heat a bit more of the oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion and saute until translucent, about three minutes.
- Next add the garlic and saute for another 30 seconds.
- Add the vegetable stock, peppers, mole paste, coriander, cumin, and mashed squash and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the peppers are tender, about seven minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, then garnish as desired before serving.
I could not find mole paste, so I substituted mole sauce. Since paste is more concentrated than sauce, I added more than 1 1/2 tablespoons of mole sauce until satisfied with its taste.Note that this is a small batch soup that makes only two servings. Be sure to double the recipe if you need to feed more than two.
If you are a blogger who would like to post along with the winter squash group, please join us on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!
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