I‘ve been thinking a lot about comforts.
As I’m preparing to host my first Thanksgiving in New Orleans, I’m thinking a lot about exactly how to make my guests feel comfortable. I’m thinking beyond moist stuffing and sweet cranberry sauce, because comfortable house guests require much more than one fancy meal on a Thursday.
I’m gathering baskets filled with filtered water, fancy soaps, good hand cream, extra toothbrushes just in case, extra blankets for the bed, a lavender spray for the bathroom, and a refrigerator full of snacks and comforts.
It’s essential and ultra luxurious… and since I don’t often host a house full of family (loud, hungry, crazy crazy family), it would be fair to say that maybe I’m going a bit overboard.
I’ve made a giant batch of this creamy squash soup and added a bit of ground clove and freshly grated nutmeg to highlight the sweet squash. Salty pancetta breadcrumbs add a bit of crunch, and the whole deal is waiting in the refrigerator for a Thanksgiving week lunch.
I expect to feel proud and accomplished, until I run out of popovers and someone asks for more.
We’re back in the kitchen with KitchenAid and it’s time to work these shelves. It feels like I’m going to have every pan and every appliance on their job this week. For this creamy soup and crispy popovers, I’m using a few new favorites: the 7-speed Hand Mixer which is a savior for quick baking jobs, and the Pro Line® Series Cordless Hand Blender for the smoothest, creamiest blended soups.
If you missed our first Inside the Baker’s Kitchen, be sure the check out these sweet and savory biscuits!
There are produce shelves full of all sorts of thick-skinned squash these days. Butternut squash is mild and sweet. Spaghetti squash is stringy and moist. Red Kuri, the squash we’re using for this soup is nutty and soft. It’s orange color is bright and intriguing.
Grab a Red Kuri! We’ll add some spices. It’s a perfect match!
Peeling a squash takes some doing. The thick-skin protects a tender flesh.
Peel and de-seed, leaving only the squash flesh.
The foundation of our soup is critical: sautéed onions, garlic, carrots, celery, and thyme.
Earthy, sweet, and balancing flavors.
The uncooked squash is added to soup foundation.
I also like to add my spices at this point to help bloom their oils, releasing all of their flavors.
Believe it or not, we’re adding ground cloves and freshly grated nutmeg to this creamy soup. I know… these sound like flavors that belong in banana bread, but the fragrant spices add an undeniable warmth and Autumn spirit to the soup.
I used a turkey stock for this soup. It has more of a creamy and luxurious quality than chicken or vegetable stock. It’s warmth matches the cloves and nutmeg.
After some quality simmer-time, the carrots , celery, and squash are warmed into softness and submission.
This is where things start to get fun! This KitchenAid 5-Speed Cordless Hand Blender is like a choose-you-own-adventure kitchen utility set! I love the interchangeable blade heads and use the four-sided blade to blend this soup!
No messy transferring soup to and from a blender. Just leave it in the pot and let a hand blender whirl away!
I like my soup as smooth as possible without straining so I take my time to blend and blend.
Once blended, the flavors of the soup will just start to marry.
Now is a great time to taste and check the seasoning. More salt? More pepper? More cloves and nutmeg?
Cream. Lots of cream!
Let’s top our soup with something crispy and salty. Pancetta is the answer.
As the pancetta bits cook down, they crisp to a golden brown and release an essential amount of delicious fat.
Add panko bread crumbs, and fresh herbs to the fat and toss to coat. The result is a salty, crisp, and fragrant soup topping. A little bite of salty crunch is perfect in a creamy soup.
Popovers! Super impressive with minimal effort.
Eggs do all heavy lifting in these popovers, and create the most light and fluffy bread bites.
Milk and eggs are beaten together well. It’s important to completely break down the egg into the milk so that the egg magic is evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Flour and salt beaten all the way in until no lumps remain.
The batter will be thin. That’s exactly right!
Fresh thyme and salty parmesan, too!
I make my popovers in a muffin tin because a muffin tin is much more versatile in my kitchen.
Brushed with butter and filled halfway with popover batter. Cheese and herb in every tin.
Creamy and spiced squash soup. Mellow and interesting. lot’s of slaty, herby crunch to top. I love the eggy and doughy popovers to match. All hot and fresh. Perfect for the season!
This post is in partnership with KitchenAid: adored and all up in my baker’s kitchen.