San Diego December Produce & Recipe

san diego december produce butternut squash soupIf you compare San Diego to the rest of the country, you’ll notice that a post on produce that’s in season in December is pretty unusual! But here in Rancho Santa Fe, and in San Diego in general, we’re blessed with the weather and (and wherewithal!) to have produce all year round.

 

Right now, and throughout the month of December, you’ll find these and more at your local farmer’s market:

 

Cut flowers Basil & other fresh herbs Apples
Beets Broccoli Cabbage
Carrots Cauliflower Celery
Lemons Chard Winter squash
Macadamia nuts Lettuce Limes
Persimmons Peppers Navel oranges
Spinach Radishes Potatoes
Tomatoes Tangerines

 

Get creative about using local produce, and check out our post on San Diego Farmer’s Markets to find one near you!  To get you started, here is a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup using THREE local, in-season ingredients (butternut squash, apples, and herbs)!  And never fear: since butternut squash is so difficult to peel, we just cut off the ends and roast it instead!

 

Ingredients

 

      • 4 pounds whole butternut squash (about 2 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
      • 2 tablespoons butter (use olive oil if you’d like to make this vegan)
      • 1 medium apple (Granny Smith or whatever tart variety is available to you)
      • 1/2 medium yellow onion
      • 8 fresh sage leaves (see our post on Native Sages to pick your own!)
      • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
      • 2 1/2 cups water
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
      • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
      • 1/3 cup heavy cream (optional, if you like your soup creamy)
      • Toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted pine nuts, sour cream, more fresh herbs, or other (for garnish – optional)

 

 

Directions

 

    1. Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
    1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and brush all of it over the tops and insides of the squash halves (alternatively, you can rub it on evenly with your fingers). Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until knife tender, about 50 minutes to 1 hour.
    1. Meanwhile, peel, core, and dice the apple. Dice the onion as well, and chop the sage. Melt the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
    1. When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; compost the skins.
    1. Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat; stir in the cream, if desired.
    1. Using an immersion blender or a regular one, puree the soup until it reaches your desired thickness (I like it still with some chunks of squash and apple, not totally smooth, but to each his own!).
    1. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, toasted pine nuts, sour cream, fresh herbs, fresh grated parmesan, or anything else you’d like!
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