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Warm Your Kitchen and Your Heart

February 08, 1996|BEV BENNETT

The best fuel for winter is a mug of steaming hot soup and a sandwich. It's probably what your mom put in front of you when you came home for lunch. Now that you're an adult, you might crave more than canned tomato soup and a peanut butter and jelly spread.

I recommend winter squash and pear soup served with grilled turkey and cranberry sandwiches.

I'll find any excuse to turn on the oven, and roasting squash for the soup is certainly a worthwhile one. Roasting results in a nutty-tasting vegetable. However, anyone who doesn't want to wait an hour for squash to cook could substitute a can of unsweetened pumpkin puree.

WINTER SQUASH AND PEAR SOUP

1 (1 1/2-pound) butternut squash

1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced ginger root

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 pear, peeled, cored and cubed

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup whipping cream, optional

Salt, pepper

Cut squash lengthwise in half. Place cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees until very tender when pierced with fork, about 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle.

Meanwhile, melt butter in medium saucepan. Add onion and ginger root and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Add nutmeg, broth and pear. Set aside.

When squash is cool enough to handle, remove seeds. Scoop out 2 cups squash meat and add to pan (if there is additional pulp, it can be used in another dish).

Process contents of pan in blender or food processor until pureed. Return to pan. Add wine and heat through. Add cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Makes 4 cups or 2 generous servings.

Each of 2 servings contains about:

272 calories; 803 mg sodium; 16 mg cholesterol; 8 grams fat; 43 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams protein; 5.39 grams fiber.

GRILLED TURKEY AND CRANBERRY SANDWICHES

2 tablespoons cream cheese

1/8 teaspoon curry powder

4 slices egg bread (challah or Hawaiian bread)

4 slices cooked turkey

4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices jellied cranberry sauce

1 tablespoon butter

Soften cream cheese and blend with curry powder. Spread cream cheese mixture over 2 slices bread. Top each with 2 slices turkey, then 2 slices cranberry sauce. Cover with remaining 2 bread slices.

Melt butter in medium skillet. Ease in sandwiches. Brown on 1 side until golden, about 5 minutes. Using 2 spatulas for each sandwich, gently turn sandwiches over and brown second side 3 to 5 minutes longer. Remove sandwiches from skillet. Slice each diagonally in half. Serve hot.

Makes 2 servings.

Each serving contains about:

317 calories; 248 mg sodium; 66 mg cholesterol; 13 grams fat; 37 grams carbohydrates; 16 grams protein; 0.47 gram fiber.

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