Time For Some BS Soup: Butternut Squash!

I am a pale nerd, so apart from all the fruits and veggies that grow in the sunshine and the fun to be had while camping/hiking, I hate summer. My body is ill-equipped to deal with it. And I especially hate Crazy Hot Global Warming summer! Same goes for winter. Except backwards.

My favorite season is fall. Not too hot, not too cold, it’s time to bring out the coats and boots, sip hot chocolate, kick piles of leaves, make soups and stews, and best of all, apple/squash/root vegetable season has arrived, oh mama!


Ready for liftoff!

Ready for liftoff!


In my opinion, soups are grossly underestimated as a filling meal. I have found that many popular, commercially available soups (or restaurant offerings) are either too thin and watery with chunks of stuff floating in it, or super thick and fatty-tasting yet bland (giving you that queasy feeling later), and all of them are too salty. I’m talking “my mouth hurts, can I see the nurse now?” levels of sodium: if your tongue stings and it’s not because you burnt it, there is too much in there. Over-salted food is a pet peeve of mine. We are humans, not ponies, so it’s time for a re-vamp!

Butternut squash is a favorite ingredient of mine, for some of the same reasons that I love roasted garlic, caramelized onions, and Gruyère cheese: They taste sweet, rich, hearty, and well-rounded. Kind of like how I envision myself in 5 years. Kidding.

There are so many delectable uses for The BS, whether it’s roasted, boiled sous vide or in broth, puréed, grated, included in ravioli filling, or a myriad of other things, so I thought it would be great to showcase it with some of my other favourite ingredients.

This recipe is so easy to make and has been a hit every single time. The ingredients are so delicious on their own that combined simply and spiced lightly, they make a huge statement. It’s thick and creamy like a bisque, but purely because of the vegetables, and has a little hint of pepperiness that sneaks up on you. Plus if you make a ton of this soup, you can play with different garnishes every day.

Warning: If you have sensitive skin, break out a pair of latex or rubber gloves. Some people have reactions when peeling the squash. I haven’t yet, but have had severe contact dermatitis once before (from a harsh detergent), and it is no party.


Fall-Out-of-Your-Seat-Easy Butternut Squash Soup

Serves about 8 people, depending on whether the soup is an appy or a main

4 cups roasted butternut squash (half of a large squash, or 1 small)
A few cloves of roasted garlic (as many as YOU want. I used about 12 but could do 20 easily)
3 cups sliced onions (white, yellow, or red)
4 cups water
2 tbsp chicken broth powder (veggie broth powder also works great. If you’re gluten-sensitive, use stock instead of powders and water)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1tsp dried chili flakes (halve this amount if you want it very mild)
2 tbsp butter (or sesame oil for a vegan option)
Oil for brushing

The easiest way to make this recipe is to multi-task. If you don’t already have roasted garlic lying around (my lifeline), drizzle, wrap it up in foil, and do it up with the butternut at the same time. As for the squash: Cut it in half, yank out the seeds, brush half/halves with oil, place them face-up in a foil-covered pan, roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for about an hour (more if it's huuuuge and the one piece takes up the whole oven like mine did), remove, flip over, and scoop out the sweet, sweet innards. It’ll be hot, so watch your fingers! If using a large squash, you can either make 2 batches of soup, or keep the other half for something else.

The easiest way to make this recipe is to multi-task. If you don’t already have roasted garlic lying around (my lifeline), drizzle, wrap it up in foil, and do it up with the butternut at the same time. As for the squash: Cut it in half, yank out the seeds, brush half/halves with oil, place them face-up in a foil-covered pan, roast in a preheated 400 degree oven for about an hour (see next photo), remove, flip over, and scoop out the sweet, sweet innards. It’ll be hot, so watch your fingers! If using a large squash, you can either make 2 batches of soup, or keep the other half for something else.

This here is the squash that actually got used for the soup today. It was so big that it took an hour and 15 minutes to become fully knife-pokeable, so I'd recommend testing every 10 minutes or so after 45 if your squash/squashes aren't ready yet.

This here is the squash that actually got used for the soup today. It was so big that it took an hour and 15 minutes to become fully knife-pokeable, so I'd recommend testing every 10 minutes or so after 45 if your squash/squashes aren't ready yet.

While the squash is roasting, cut up the onion. Throw it in the pot with a little butter and the spices, and cook over medium heat until they begin to sweat and then brown. It could take up to around 15 minutes, but don't wander too far away! Make sure the onions don’t dry out and the spices don’t burn, but they will darken for sure. Scrape up all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pot/saucepan every couple of minutes.

While the squash is roasting, cut up the onion. Throw it in the pot with a little butter and the spices, and cook over medium heat until they begin to sweat and then brown. It could take up to around 15 minutes, but don't wander too far away! Make sure the onions don’t dry out and the spices don’t burn, but they will darken for sure. Scrape up all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pot/saucepan every couple of minutes.

That caramelization will add extra depth and sweetness to your soup. Mmmm!

That caramelization will add extra depth and sweetness to your soup. Mmmm!

 Drop in the squash mush and enough garlic to your liking. Add in the water and broth powder, stir until well combined.

Drop in the squash mush and enough garlic to your liking. Add in the water and broth powder, stir until well combined.

Use an immersion/stick blender and whiz until smooth, or transfer to a milkshake blender. For soups, I prefer the milkshake blender. It’s a little more cleanup, but gives a silkier, more uniform result. Pour back into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes to reheat. Adjust seasoing if you feel like it.

Use an immersion/stick blender and whiz until smooth, or transfer to a milkshake blender. For soups, I prefer the milkshake blender. It’s a little more cleanup, but gives a silkier, more uniform result. Pour back into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes to reheat. Adjust seasoning if you feel like it.

Top any way you like. I chiffonaded (stacked, rolled up and finely sliced) some baby spinach and added some chunks of this amazing spicy lamb and sundried tomato sausage.

Top any way you like. I chiffonaded (stacked, rolled up and finely sliced) some baby spinach and added some chunks of this amazing spicy lamb and sundried tomato sausage.

There are so many ways to dress up a soup that after this I have to start working on a post to give y’all some ideas. One of these days I should have a soup party so the guests can build/top their own, like a sundae bar.

I’ve made this recipe a few different ways before, adding carrots, coconut milk, chunks or coconut cream, or adding a tiny bit of extra water and cooking pasta in it. FYI, roasting the squash is definitely the best way to go, prep-wise, as it sweetens and softens the squash at the same time. The first time I ever made this, chopping up the entire thing and boiling it in stock was time-consuming, labour-intensive, and annoying to have to keep hovering over and stirring.

One perk was giving the pores a good steaming.

Eat well!

Kari

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This entry was posted in Appies & Sides, Gluten-free, Healthy, Holiday, Soups & Stews, Vegan, Vegetarian and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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