Butternut Squash (Edible Gardens LA
Winter Squash (ie: Acorn Squash, Delicata) (Edible Gardens LA)
1 White or Yellow Onion (Pavilions “Park & Pickup”)
Potato(es) (Petit Trois Goods)
1-3 Carrot(s) (Pavilions Park & Pickup)
1 to 2 Apples (Edible Gardens LA)
1 Pear (Harry & David)
1 Whole fresh Sprig of Sage (My Garden)
Olive Oil 2-3 Tablespoons (Costco)
Vegetable Broth/Chicken Broth – (optional) (Homemade)Water (as needed)
Paprika (Trader Joe’s)
Cayenne Pepper (Costco)
Salt (Trader Joe’s)
Pepper (Trader Joe’s)
Pumpkin Seeds (Trader Joe’s)
Winter is coming! Which means winter squash is firmly in season. This recipe all started because I ended up with a variety of winter squash, all relatively smaller in size, and had no idea what to do with all of them. After some “himming and hawing” I settled in on the idea of a “Butternut Squash Soup.” I put that in quotes because it did have two small butternut squash but also a variety of other winter squash as well. I love food adventures. Here we go!
Sometimes we need to go with the flow, use what we have, not worry so much about exactly how much we need of one thing, throw it together and give it flavor.
The short version of this recipe is, take however much of what you want of the listed ingredients, toss them into a pot, cook with with plenty of water along the way until it starts fall apart on its own, then mash it up to turn it into soup. Season. Top with pumpkin seeds, and viola!
The long version of this recipe is as follows… One individual butternut squash can be big, it can be small, or it can be so small as to fit into the palm of a hand – I discovered. I think the trick to this recipe is to have a good amount of butternut squash or a combination of winter squash. An onion is key. At first I wasn’t entirely convinced I was going to use any carrots at all but almost every recipe I researched called for at least one carrot, so use as many or as few as you would like.
Oddly, several recipes called for an apple. I say oddly because it is not what I would expect as an ingredient. When slowly tasting a dish prepared by another I often try to pick out or guess the ingredients for inspiration to re-create that recipe in my own kitchen. My husband was not able to guess I had put an apple in the first round of my successful attempt of creating this soup either.
We recently received a beautiful box of Harry & David pears from a friend and they all ripened at the same time. Trying to avoid waste and maximize what I have in my kitchen I thought to myself “if an apple then why not a pear?!” This particular batch of soup contains two apples (because they were small) and a pear!
Moving on, all the recipes I found online called for a russet potato or similar. Well, I did not have a russet potato, but I did have some Yukon Gold potatoes so I used those. This time around I had fingerling potatoes from Petit Trois Goods. I accidentally refer to them in my demo as an “elephant fingerling potato” (haha, NOT!! I don’t even know if there is such a thing!) when in fact they are a Russian Banana Fingerling. Either way, a potato is a potato’ish, in certain situations, and so it was peeled chopped and tossed into the mix!
Not too long ago I branched out and tried my hand at a home made chicken broth. It was so easy to do! After you are done eating an entire chicken take what is left over, all the inedible parts, toss it into a LARGE pot, cover it with water, bring it up to a boil, then leave it cooking on low for several hours. The longer the better. When it is all done and your house smells like chicken soup strain it, separate it into roughly one cup containers and freeze what you don’t need right away for use on a rainy day. What you see while it is cooking is not the most pleasant, especially if you do not enjoy the process of cooking meat. But if you can get over that part of it, I assure you, the result will be worth the effort. Keep in mind, there is no requirement to use chicken broth or even vegetable broth in making this soup recipe. You can use water instead.
Once you have washed, peeled, and cut up all the ingredients toss them into the pot. This time I added three tablespoons of olive oil. The time before I added two tablespoons of olive oil. Turn up the heat. Let it start to get hot for a few short mixtures and stir it around, then add liquid. This time around I used just over one cup of chicken broth and one cup of water to get it going, enough for the water line to be just above the contents of the pot. Bring it up to a boil then let it cook on low for several hours or until you know all the ingredients are cooked down and totally soft.
Make sure there is always enough liquid in the pot to just barely cover the top of the ingredients and throughout the cook time add water as needed, stirring occasionally. Cook until the cut up pieces to start to fall apart when stirred. If it can easily be smashed with a fork then it is time for the next step.
Pull out the sage leaves. Let it cool down a bit. Blend until it is smooth. Add in some dry seasonings, to taste.
There are a few keys to success for me in making this soup; chop all of the ingredients to roughly the same size, have enough liquid in the pot to just cover the chopped ingredients while they are cooking stovetop, make sure you use some sort of a white or yellow onion, place an entire sprig of fresh sage into the pot while it is cooking and then make sure you take it ALL out after wards before blending, and use a blender. I happen to have an immersion blender my Mom gave me for Christmas several years ago (thank you Mommy) but you can use any blender or Cuisinart to get a smooth creamy soup texture.
At the end I add in dry seasonings, to taste. I like a little cayenne pepper and a hint of paprika. Some enjoy the taste of cinnamon or nutmeg in a butternut squash soup, but not at my house, so add flavors YOU will enjoy. The very first time I made this I had some heavy cream in the house, so mixed in a splash and it tasted quite nice, but we came to the conclusion that there was so much flavor and creaminess already that it was not an essential step in guaranteeing tastiness.
Before serving top it off with a slight sprinkle of corse salt and pumpkin seeds. Yum. I learned from a Chef friend (Chef Ludo to be exact) to “taste your food.” So remember to sample it before deciding it is done. I have “tasted” several times only to find it did need a bit more of one thing or another.
Believe me, had you asked me just a few months ago if I ever imagined making a butternut squash soup, let alone explaining to others how I did it because it tasted so good, I would have said “No Way!” But here we are. So I suppose the moral of the story is if you are craving the flavor and an adventure the kitchen just go for it. 🙂
Gluten free, vegetarian, vegan.