Written by: Josephine Bridges
Among the winners of the Dairy Farmers of Oregon Butter Up the Holidays
Contest is Richard Ellmyer, a Portland organic gardener, with Buttery Buttered Nut Squash Soup.
Entering the contest was, “a complete whim,” said Ellmyer,” I’ve never done anything like this before.” An organic gardener for decades, Ellmyer has a wealth of experience growing butternut squash, though, and making soup from the abundance on hand. “Butternut squash is my favorite vegetable. “Hardy, prolific, beautiful in form and color, it’ll last for a year and you can’t taste the difference. There’s nothing I don’t like about a butternut squash.”
“The only challenge was to incorporate butter,” said Ellmyer, who prior to entering the contest had made butternut squash soup using stock, peanut butter, and various flavorings. “I decided to use a stick of butter. That would get everybody’s attention. Now, how much squash?” A five-pounder the gardener happened to have “looked just right.” What else could he do to impress the Dairy Farmers of Oregon and still make a good-tasting soup? “Two cups of milk, then more butter, sauteed with walnuts and spices and mixed into the soup at the end.” The judges were clearly impressed.
Ellmyer makes a connection between growing organic food, eating well, and “developing interesting recipes based on the stuff you can grow.” Organic gardening is something Ellmyer and his wife “love to do, believe in, and have been successful at. It’s an essential part of what we do and who we are. The recipe was just fun. I’m very excited to win.”
If you would like to try the prizewinning recipe yourself, Ellmyer is happy to share.
Buttery Buttered Nut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash (about 5 lbs.), makes 5 cups
2 cups milk
1 stick butter (1/4 lb.)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 stick butter
2 tbsp curry
1 1/2 cup walnuts
2 apples, diced
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
6 to 10 Servings
Cut squash in half lengthwise.
Put on baking sheet, cut side up.
Cook at 400 for about 1 hour or until very tender.
Peel and take out seeds when cooled.
Process squash in food processor in 2 batches, adding half the milk and 1/2 stick of butter in each batch. Process until very smooth (about 2 minutes).
Combine both batches.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Melt 1/2 stick of butter in a frying pan.
When melted add the walnuts and curry. Stir and cook for 2 minutes.
Add apples, stir and cook for 1 more minute.
Stir in brown sugar and cinnamon, cook for 1 more minute.
Be careful that butter does not burn. It will be browned a sticky, adhering to the crevices of the walnuts.
Scoop squash into small bowls.
Put a few spoonfuls of topping in each bowl.