B’s roommate (a fancy writer) recently asked me “Have you ever blogged about about leftovers? Why don’t you write about leftovers?”
I thought why not. Not the sexiest topic but relevant to everyone – like doing chores and paying taxes. Hence, my Dissertation on Leftovers today.
For the linguists – leftovers are the edible parts remaining after dinner (not to confuse it with the inedible parts called waste). According to Wikipedia, “The ultimate fate of leftovers depends on where the meal was eaten, the preferences of the diner, and the prevailing social culture.”
Can’t get more dramatic than your household’s social norm determining the “ultimate fate” of your leftovers. Will you be merciful and eat it? (Perhaps, it’s the food would enjoy being tossed out more…)
In our house, mom is the queen of leftovers. We have a separate freezer in our house for storing leftovers … and other foods, as nobody in the family has any idea what mom keeps inside, including mom herself. We eat anything and everything.
New dishes made from leftovers are very common in world cuisine, given the fact that refrigeration and reliable airtight containers didn’t exist until recently. Thanksgiving is infamous for leftovers, so I bring you… Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup.
Ok, don’t worry the soup itself isn’t from Thanksgiving but this soup is made from nonperishable ingredients – canned pumpkin, frozen butternut squash, chicken broth – which I’ve accumulated in between interview season during the holidays and wanted to use up. Mission accomplished. Recipe loosely adapted from Ina Garten
Pumpkin Butternut Squash Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 yellow onions, chopped
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup butternut squash, peeled and cut in chunks
2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
salt and black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup coconut milk, plus extra for garnish
feta cheese and fresh thyme, to garnish
In an oven/ toaster oven, preheat to 400 F. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the butternut squash and roast for about 25 min until toasted.
Heat the oil in a stockpot, add and sauté the onions and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the pumpkin puree, roasted butternut squash, chicken stock, and spices. Cover and simmer over medium – low heat for about 15 minutes. Add coconut milk to thicken; add more to desired creaminess. Use an immersion blender or carefully pour soup into a blender (let soup cool prior, so it doesn’t damage the blender) to puree the soup. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes, adjusting spices as preferred.
When ready to serve the soup, top generously with feta cheese and add a few sprigs of thyme. Enjoy!