Jennifer McLagan is a chef, food stylist, and writer who has worked in London and Paris as well as her native Australia. Her book, Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, with Recipes, won the Best Single Subject Cookbook award, as well as Cookbook of the Year, at the 2009 James Beard Awards. Her first book, Bones, was widely acclaimed, winning the James Beard Award for single-subject food writing. She is a regular contributor to Fine Cooking and Food & Drink. She has lived in Toronto for more than 27 years with her sculptor husband, Haralds Gaikis, with whom she escapes to Paris as often as possible. On both sides of the Atlantic, Jennifer maintains friendly relations with her butchers, who put aside their best fat and bones for her.
hubbard squash or other firm, dry pumpkin or winter squash (about 3-1/3 pounds/1.5 kg)
8 cups/2 l water
Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions Remove the rind and any hard, dry skin from the bacon. Cut the bacon into 1/4-inch/6-mm dice.
Place a large saucepan over low heat, add the bacon pieces, and cook gently so they render their fat. When most of their fat is rendered, add the onion, celery, and sage, stirring to coat with the fat. Cook until the vegetables soften slightly, about 7 minutes.
Cut the squash into quarters and remove the seeds. Peel the squash and coarsely chop into smaller, even-sized pieces. Set aside.
Pour 1 cup/250 ml of the water into the pan with the vegetables, increase the heat to high and, using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pan, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom. Add the remaining 7 cups/1.75 l water, the squash pieces, 1 tablespoon of salt, and some pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, covered, until the squash is very soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove the sage and let the soup cool slightly.
Purée the soup, in batches, in a blender and pour into a clean saucepan. Taste and adjust the seasoning, and reheat the soup to serve.
Duck fat. Caul fat. Leaf lard. Bacon. Ghee. Suet. Schmaltz. Cracklings. Jennifer McLagan knows and loves cooking fat, and you''ll remember that you do too once you get a taste of her lusty, food-positive writing and sophisticated comfort-food recipes. Dive into more than 100 sweet and savory recipes using butter, pork fat, poultry fat, beef fat, and lamb fat, including Slow Roasted Pork Belly with Fennel and Rosemary, Risotto Milanese, Duck Rillettes, Bone Marrow Crostini, and Choux Paste Beignets. Scores of sidebars on the cultural, historical, and scientific facets of culinary fats as well as sumptuous food photos throughout make for a plump, juicy, satisfying read for food lovers.
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