This morning we stood in the kitchen side by side. We both held whisks, measuring cups, spoons. She was on the step stool; I used the knife. First we made banana bread—three over ripe fruits, flour, yogurt. A spoonful of grapefruit zest, some olive oil, maple syrup. Eggs. We whisked, stirred, poured. Turned on the oven.

Next up was the soup. I peeled the butternut, she examined the chunks. Orange flesh, still firm after four months on the counter top, warm and dry in the kitchen. We talked about Tim Friary as we scooped out the seeds, the fact that this squash came from his farm, that he'd grown it. We got out chicken stock, an onion, duck fat. Meanwhile, we put a pot of beans on to simmer. They were pintos, the last of last year's CSA. What we're making is dinner.

It's snowy, and she has the croup. We need cold air, steamy tea. A walk outside all bundled up, then a good sit by the wood stove and a bottle of hot cider. And for dinner: biscuits, butternut squash soup with sage and beans. A side of broccoli, or maybe kale. And homemade banana bread for dessert.


This is a simple, homey soup. It's adapted from The Art of Simple Food, by Alice Waters. 

1 cup dried white, tan, or light brown beans
7 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons duck fat
2 onions, thinly sliced
10 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeds scooped out, and cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans in water overnight. Drain them and put them in a large pot with the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the beans are tender, about 45 minutes. Pour the beans through the strainer, reserving the cooking liquid, and set aside. 

Warm up the duck fat over medium-low heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add the onions, sage leaves, and bay leaf and sauté for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the cooking liquid from the beans along with the squash. Season with salt and pepper to taste and simmer until the squash is very tender. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, then add the beans. Taste again for salt and pepper, season as needed, and serve hot. 

Note: if you have extra sage, fry the leaves with salt and olive oil in a skillet. They make an deliciously crispy topping for the soup. 


Atlantic Spice Eleanora said...

I loved cooking with my daughter, she is an amazing cook now and cooks for pleasure, relaxation, all local foods and her health.Thank-you for all the recipes in The Banner, as well as on this blog. Can we get them online ( I subscribe to the paper in print )??

Aimee Peters said...

That banana bread sounds delish! Is there a recipe for it somewhere?

Elspeth said...

Eleanora, I'm not sure how that works. If you subscribe in print, it seems you should be able to log in and view them online, though we do the same and I have to admit I've yet to figure that out. I'll work on it and let you know what I discover. That said, if you're remembering a recipe and can't find it you can always leave a comment here or email me; I have them all tucked away in my computer files.

And Aimee, yes! It comes from 101 Cookbooks (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/lemony-olive-oil-banana-bread-recipe.html). I've changed a few things: I use all whole-wheat flour, whatever citrus zest I have (orange, grapefruit, or lemon), maple syrup in place of the sugar--and only 1/2 cup, and I only glaze it if it's a cake. Also, I've been known to use pureed squash or applesauce in place of the bananas, and both are delicious! It's a favorite. In fact, you've made me realize it probably merits a post. I'll make it next up :)


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