Saturday, March 27, 2010

Funky and Fabulous Must-Try Restaurant

Happy Gillis
549 Gillis Street
Kansas City, MO 64106-1261
(816) 471-3663

This is a fabulous little soup and sandwich place in Columbus Park near the River Market area. I learned about it by watching the tv show Check, Please. I had the Butternut Squash and Roasted Poblano Pepper Soup and the Club Sandwich. It was delicious. I highly recommend this neighborhood place. The soup inspired me to look for some recipes that are similar. Here are two that I have found. I have no idea if they are close to Happy Gilllis's soup, but I plan to try it.

Butternut Squash and Roasted Poblano Pepper Soup


1 tablespoon corn oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 roasted poblano chiles, peeled, deseeded and chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

2 cups cooked butternut squash

3 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish

Chopped cilantro, for garnish


To prepare the squash, cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash on a baking sheet and add about 1/2-inch of water to the pan. Bake uncovered in a 400 degree F oven until squash is easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool and then scoop out the flesh.

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until translucent. Stir in poblano chilies and cumin; cook about 3 minutes. Add squash, chicken stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Cool and puree in small batches in a blender. Strain if desired.

Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds and/or chopped cilantro.

Recipe courtesy: Chef Jim LaPerriere, Slocum House

Butternut Squash and Roasted Poblano Pepper Soup

2 butternut squashes

1 poblano pepper (you can adjust the spice level by adding more or less roasted pepper, but generally speaking, poblanos are rather mild.)

1/2 a white onion

1 small white shallot

1 whole head of garlic

3 very skinny carrots (or one or two larger ones)

3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. (In this case I used a vegetable stock that I made before our vacation using a large number of carrots, hoping the carrots would add to the sweetness of the soup. I think I was right.)

Preheat your oven to 375ºf.

Slice squashes lengthwise, so you can scoop out the seeds. You can cut them down a little more if you'd like, to fit on your pans and maybe cook a little faster. Drizzle with olive oil, salt lightly, and place on a baking sheet in the oven.

You know what? Do i need to describe the whole process? Everything gets drizzled in olive oil and roasted at the same time in the oven. I wrap the onions, shallot, and garlic individually in tinfoil, and leave the seeded, halved pepper on a baking sheet, along with the carrots. Keep an eye on the pepper and remove when it becomes blistery and begins to blacken.

Just peek in on everything every once in awhile and make sure nothing's burning. Pull things out as they finish (The peppers will finish first, then the carrots, then the shallot probably, then the garlic, then onion, then butternuts, probably.) Just keep poking everything until it's mushy. Let everything cool so you can handle it easily, and heat up your stock while you wait.

Bust out your blender or food processor, and put a large pot aside for the finished soup. Begin blending the ingredients (duh, don't forget to peel your butternut) in steps, adding warm stock as needed to get it smooth. Dump it all in the big pot and stir it up really well, adding more stock if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Put over heat if necessary- letting all the ingredients cool can leave you with a lukewarm soup. Serves 3-4.

Last night I happened to carve a pumpkin and I cleaned and toasted the seeds. I tossed a handful on my dinner salad and garnished my soup with them, too. All I did was wash them, let them dry overnight on a brown paper bag, and then coat them with olive oil & salt, and then toasted them for 10-15 minutes at 375º.

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