Butternut Squash Soup
For some reason, my garden was kind of a dud this year. The tomatoes were stubborn, the kale was cranky. And don’t even get me started on the cucumbers. ugh. But the butternut squash? They must’ve known the other vegetables were slacking off because they kicked it into high gear this summer. I have two boxes filled with big, beautiful butternut squash.
If you’re just not that into squash, I totally get it. I was once a card carrying member to Squash Haters Anonymous, but I am slowly coming around to its charms. Butternut is a great place to start. It’s sweet and firm and mellow and friendly. Simply roasting little cubes with a little olive oil and salt until the outside is crisp and the inside is creamy is my favorite way to prepare it, but it’s also delicious tossed on top of Roasted Vegetable Winter Salad or tucked into Butternut Squash Carbonara.
I’ve never been interested in Butternut Squash Soup because I don’t typically crave warm baby food. I didn’t really get the whole puree-until-smooth in the soup department. But for some reason it just sounded really, really good the other day. I found a recipe (via Ina Garten) in a great cookbook already on my shelf, Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach (Amazon).
Here’s what I learned: the beautiful thing about pureeing your soup to a silky smooth consistency is that you don’t have to spend a bunch of time at the cutting board, dicing and chopping. Just roughly chop your vegetables and tumble them into the soup pot. Done. You let the heat do the rest of the work, simmering until soft. A quick trip through the blender, and you’ll have a low-maintenance, high-flavor soup. Oh, and this soup is freezer friendly so make a big batch and stash some away for a rainy day.
So if you’re looking for a cozy, healthy fall recipe to make this weekend, look no further. Head to the farmer’s market for some onions + apples + squash, simmer on the stovetop (it smells SO good!), and scoop into big bowls. Sounds like a good plan to me.
Butternut Squash Soup
adapted from Dinner: A Love Story
1 medium onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1 sprig fresh thyme, optional
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded, and cut into 1″ cubes
2 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
4+ c. chicken or vegetable broth
optional toppings: walnuts, sour cream, chives, thyme, chopped apple, applesauce
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add salt & pepper, thyme, and cayenne. Stir in the squash and apples, then add enough broth to cover it all by about 1/2″. Bring to a boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and puree with a handheld immersion blender or in the blender (Do it in 2-3 batches. Just pop off the middle of the blender lid and cover with a towel when blending hot liquids.)
- Serve with optional toppings.
There are many times when I’m dealing with hot sauces or soups and wish I had an immersion blender. I still have Sweet & Sour Sauce on my kitchen ceiling to prove that hot liquids + a blender is not my forte. Sometimes, with recipes like Chicken Tortilla Soup or Bean Soup, just pureeing a cup or two is a nice way to thicken it without using a thickener. This recipe just might push me over the edge, and I have my eye on the Conair Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender (Amazon).
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