The unusually warm weather turned this weekend and we were given a rainy/sleety Saturday and Sunday. Just the type of weather to kick-off our soup and stew season. To welcome in the season I made a pantry soup of butternut squash, parsnip and apples, and a basil focaccia bread for Sunday dinner. We enjoyed the meal so much that I wanted to share the recipes with you.
Butternut Squash, Parsnip and Apple Soup
- 2 Tbs olive oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 4 large parsnips, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 large butternut squash, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 medium tart apples, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in large dutch oven.
- Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until soft.
- Add crushed garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in cumin and saute until fragrant.
- Add chopped parsnips, butternut squash and apples to the pot and stir all ingredients together.
- Add stock and thyme and cook until vegetables have softened.
- Use an immersion blender to smooth the soup.
- Garnish with a bit of parsley.
Basil Focaccia Bread
- Herb oil
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 4 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups water
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- Mix the dried basil, extra virgin olive oil, and sweet paprika in a small bowl and let steep for at least 30minutes.
- Dissolve the sugar in 2 cups of warm water. Add the yeast and stir. Allow to sit until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Stir flour and salt together in a large bowl. Mix in olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix until dough is smooth, elastic and slightly sticky.
- Cover bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 2 hours or until dough has doubled in size.
- Remove from bowl and flatten on a floured work surface. Divide into two equal parts.
- Spray two jelly roll pans with oil and place dough in pans.
- Gently work dough out to the edges of the pans and then split 1/2 of the herb oil across the trays of dough.
- With your fingers, indent the dough, keeping the bread approximately 1/2 thick.
- Let the dough leaven for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Pour the remaining herb oil on the loves, dimple lightly and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.