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Fleur de Lolly: Butternut squash, chicken dishes are fall favorites

Butternut Squash Soup in Mini-Pumpkin Bowls. [Laura Tolbert/Special to The Times]
By Laura Tolbert
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Posted: Sep. 20, 2019 12:01 am Updated: Sep. 25, 2019 12:24 pm

The fall season is upon us! It's the ideal time to enjoy the foods of the season. Here are two of my favorites. BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP IN MINI-PUMPKIN BOWLS 4 small baking pumpkins, acorn squash or sweet dumpling squash 2 teaspoons sugar Kosher salt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/2 small onion, chopped 2 sprigs thyme 1 medium butternut squash about 2 pounds, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces 1 teaspoon sugar 3 tablespoons heavy cream Freshly ground pepper Topping Suggestions: Pepitas, sunflower seeds, pumpernickel croutons, crumbled bacon, thyme sprigs. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Use a paring knife to cut a large circle around the stem of each pumpkin. Remove the lid and scoop out the seeds and fibers, and discard. Sprinkle the inside of each pumpkin with 1/2 teaspoon each sugar and salt. Place the pumpkins and lids on a baking sheet; roast until tender, 20 to 35 minutes, depending on their size. While they roast, make the soup. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the onion and 1 teaspoon salt. Strip the thyme leaves into the pot, increase the heat to medium and cook, occasionally stirring until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the squash and sugar and cook, stirring, until glazed, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 3 to 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender, crack the lid to let steam escape and purée until smooth; return to the saucepan (or purée directly in the pan with an immersion blender). Add cream and stir gently. Remove pumpkin bowls from the oven. Taste to add salt and pepper if desired. Ladle the soup into the pumpkin bowls and add desired toppings. Courtesy of Food Network Magazine HARVEST TIME CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE CASSEROLE I enjoy baking chicken pot pies at this time of year. The addition of curry and puff pastry adds a unique “grown-up” spin on a traditional family favorite. The puff pastry is made into a delicate lattice pattern and baked separately. Place it on top of the baked cobbler right before serving, so the crust doesn't become soggy. 1 pkg. frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 sheets) 3 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided 2 cups peeled, diced sweet potato 1 1/2 cups peeled, diced russet potato 1 cup diced onion 1 cup diced celery 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons curry powder 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons dried thyme 3 cups shredded rotisserie chicken 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced 1/2 cup frozen green peas 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley Salt and pepper to taste For the crust, begin by rolling out the sheets of pastry slightly, so they are the size of the 9x13 dish, and cut pastry sheets into 1 inch wide strips. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, weave strips into a lattice pattern; place in freezer while preparing the filling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray. For the filling, heat 2 1/2 cups broth, sweet and russet potatoes, onion, celery and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until vegetables are slightly soft, about 8 minutes. Whisk together remaining 3/4 cup broth, cream, flour, curry powder, cinnamon and thyme. Pour mixture into vegetable mixture. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Add chicken, apple, peas and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Pour filling into prepared baking dish. Bake the crust and casserole separately, yet at the same time, so the pastry is crisp when you lay it on the pie. In about 25 to 30 minutes, your filling should be bubbling, and the crust should be golden. Transfer crust onto the top of the casserole and serve immediately. Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. She won the Duke Mayonnaise 100th Anniversary nationwide recipe contest for her Alabama White BBQ Sauce. You can contact her at facebook.com/fleurde.lolly.5, on Instagram and fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.

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