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The Great (G-free) Experiment: Some whine, and a delicious fall soup!

September 30, 2009

roasted_butternut_squash_beans_sausage-1

I have to confess, this gluten-free trial has begun to feel just like that: a trial. At first it was fun spending hours in the grocery store hunting for gluten-free products, and researching new revelations in the gluten-free world. A trip to Trader Joe’s became a treasure hunt, and I had a blast scouring the shelves for previously unknown foods that were gluten-free and – hopefully –delicious.

But the novelty has definitely begun to wear off. And the day I had to order a salad when I went out to a barbecue joint with my boyfriend and his friends I thought, OK, I’m over this. After all, it’s not like I have celiac disease – this is just an experiment to see if going gluten-free can help banish some stubborn digestive problems. I don’t technically have to be doing this.

It has not been easy watching my roommates order spring rolls and fried rice and knowing I can’t steal a few bites, or meeting my friends for a drink and having to order a pricy cocktail instead of a cheap beer – which I would have preferred anyway.

So in an attempt to distract myself from all the Chinese food I can’t eat – which let’s face it, health-wise probably isn’t the worse thing anyway – I’ve been trying to focus on new fall foods to get excited about.

mcintosh3

One of my favorite things to do when the weather gets chilly is make soup, and one of my favorites is a butternut squash and apple soup. I love squash and apples, especially in combination, and they are not only in season and easy to find locally grown, but they’re naturally gluten-free.

Many people finding it daunting to think about making soup from scratch, but it can actually be incredibly easy. And there’s almost nothing quite as delightful as a house full of the smell of a simmering soup, so any effort is definitely worth it in my book. Here is the recipe that I use…it’s like fall in a pot!

butternut-squash-soup

Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 4 cups chopped yellow onions (3 large)
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 5 pounds butternut squash (2 large)
  • 1 1/2 pounds sweet apples, such as Macintosh (4 apples)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups good apple cider or juice

Preparation:

  1. Warm the butter, olive oil, onions, and curry powder in a large pot uncovered over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the onions are tender. Stir occasionally, scraping the bottom of the pot.
  2. While the onions are softening, peel the squash, cut in half, remove the seeds, and cut into chunks. Then peel, quarter, and core the apples, and cut into chunks.
  3. Add the squash, apples, salt, pepper, and 2 cups of water to the pot. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash and apples are very soft. Puree using a food processor or food mill (I use my handy handheld immersion blender).
  4. Add the apple cider or juice and enough water to make the soup the consistency you like; it should be slightly sweet and quite thick.

I don’t know yet how much longer I’ll stay with the gluten-free lifestyle – I haven’t felt the tremendous results I was hoping for, and there are some things (besides Chinese food) that I’m really beginning to miss. But the way I see it, as long as I can keep discovering gluten-free options that I enjoy, I may as well stick it out a bit longer.

So maybe most of my friends will be celebrating Oktoberfest this weekend with beer and pretzels…I’ll be slurping some delicious homemade soup!

Bon (g-free) appetit!

Molli

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. traveleatlove permalink
    September 30, 2009 8:36 pm

    I love making soup, and this one is perfectly seasonal! Thanks for posting!

  2. October 1, 2009 1:53 am

    I’m starting to wonder if “gluten-free” is replacing “detox” as the newest nutritional buzzword. Just thinking out loud.

  3. Molli permalink
    October 1, 2009 1:36 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised…the gluten-free diet is being touted as a “cure” for everything from depression to autism. However those people for whom it truly is a cure — people with Celiac disease — seem to be upset that this is turning into a fad. But either way, more interest in the gluten-free lifestyle has been prompting a huge increase in gluten-free products on the market, so at least those who truly need it will have an easier time finding things to eat.

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