BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP PORTUGUESE STYLE
Here's another one from the "Twelve Months of Monastery Soups" cookbook that I was ranting about a few months ago. I altered it some -- most of the recipes in it are a little bit too simple -- but save for the subtleties, it's pretty faithful to the original:
Put about 2 tablespoons olive oil in a black-iron dutch oven and cook 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped, with three smashed garlic cloves, over medium heat for 5 or 10 minutes or until they're soft and translucent, keeping the heat low enough that they don't brown.
Meanwhile, peel and cut into 1-inch cubes: 1 smallish butternut squash; 1 medium baking potato; and 2 carrots. Put these vegetables in with the onions and garlic, stir briefly, and add 3 cups of chicken broth (for richness) or water (if you want to keep it strictly vegetarian). Add salt and pepper to taste, a dash of hot sauce, and a short ration (about 1/2 teaspoon) of freshly ground nutmeg. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables are very soft. Run them through a food mill to make a thick puree, and return to very low heat. Stir in 1 shot Bourbon and 1 tablespoon maple syrup, and let simmer for a few more minutes until the flavors blend.
It can be served as is, and with a salad and bread would make a light meatless dinner, but I wanted something a little more substantial, so I cooked 1/4 cup orzo until al dente and served it with about three ladles of the soup as topping.