Well hey there!
Our little house has been a hive of activity lately. Between prepping for the holidays, the general cleaning and organizing, and keeping up with the ankle biters I feel like I haven't had time to cook enough for the fam, which I love to do. That's my "me" time - I light my candles, pour a glass of wine and kind of zone out.
The other night the fates aligned just right and by some miracle my husband was home, my kids had napped, and a meager amount of housework had been accomplished - so I had enough time to prepare this little feast.
I love butternut squash. When you peel it, it releases this amazing fresh and sweet smell. I may have to find a way to make a perfume with it ... hmmmm ....
Anyway, this is one of my absolute favorite soups. And I had been wanting to make rosemary foccacia for a while.
First I chopped up 1/2 of a good-sized onion, and added it to a stock pot with olive oil over medium heat. I crushed two cloves of garlic into it, then added my seeded, peeled, and chopped up butternut squash.
I let this cook until the onions and garlic were caramelized and the squash had softened slightly. Then I added 3 cups of chicken stock, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
I brought this to a boil, then lowered the heat and simmered for about 10 mins, until I could easily mash the squash with the back of a spoon.
Then I transferred the whole thing to the food processor. Every recipe I had looked up for "bisque" called for a whole bunch of heavy cream in it. So in an attempt to un-Paula Deen this, I just added 2Tb of the Mister's half and half that he puts in his coffee. Yum! Creamy without guilt. Blend in the food processor or blender until smooth.
For the foccacia, I cut some beautiful stalks off my plant, rinsed and dried them, then chopped it up.
I dissolved a packet of yeast plus 1 tsp of sugar in 1/3 c warm water (aim for 120 degrees). Then added 2 cups of flour and 1 tsp olive oil. As I kneaded this together I added the rosemary,
then put it in a lightly oiled bowl and cover.
I had been heating my oven on low because are kitchen is super drafty, so I turned off the heat and placed the bowl inside so that it could rise. After an hour I took it out and punched it down, then divided the dough in half. I kind of pulled and stretched to form an oblong shape out of both and set them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. At the advice of the BEST bread making blog ever (www.thekneadforbread.com) I also placed a pan on the bottom rack of the oven, then pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees. Right before I put the bread in I brushed the top lightly with oil, then sprinkled with sea salt and more rosemary. I brought a cup of water to boiling and carefully poured it into the pan in the oven, then put the cookie sheet on the rack above it.
The cretins in my house opted for grilled cheese to go with their bisque - but I LOVED this combination!
Also, you can use the stalks of rosemary that have been stripped of their leaves for amazing chicken. Use them like skewers and they infuse your chicken with rosemary flavor.