Friday, November 6, 2009

Butternut Squash Soup



I really love butternut squash soup. I'd never even heard of it until I worked a year in a boarding school and the cook made it for dinner one night. From then on I was hooked, and we had some absolutely phenomenal butternut squash soup on our honeymoon in Galena. I've been itching to make it for a while and I decided that this week was perfect...and naturally, it was 60 degrees today. Ah, nature.

This soup was really great, and it'd be perfect for a chilly fall night. It's warm and filling and exactly what I was looking for. I looked around online and compared various recipes and decided that creating my own would be way more fun.

Butternut Squash Soup
(Angie original)
1 whole butternut squash, medium sized
1 c. water
1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. butter
2 leeks, cleaned and sliced thin
2 c. vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 T. maple syrup
Salt and pepper
Slivered almonds, toasted
2 T. chopped fresh parsley

Heat oven to 350 F. Chop the squash in half--firmly plant the sucker bulb-side down onto a cutting board and give it a hefty "Hi-yah!" to chop it in half. Scoop out the seeds and membrane and place the squash halves face down on a baking sheet. Poor in a cup of water and roast halves in oven for 30 minutes, or until they're fork tender.

When squash is tender, remove from oven and set aside. Allow halves to cool until they're comfortable to touch and hold for a few moments. Scoop out the flesh and set aside.

Heat oil and butter in a large pot, about 2 minutes. Add leeks and saute until soft, 2-3 minutes. Add squash to pot, followed by broth and bay leaf. Mix together and stir well. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce heat to low. Add maple syrup to pot, stir well, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Taste for seasonings and add a dash more salt or pepper if necessary. Pour contents of pot into a blender, or use an immersion blender, and puree soup until smooth. Stir in fresh parsley and top almonds.

Notes:
  • This was really nice and velvety. I loved the texture and how warm and buttery it was.
  • A dash of salt and pepper is really all you need, any more and the salt cuts in on the natural sweetness of the squash.
  • I'd like to try different blends of seasonings to compliment the squash, so I'll have to do some experimenting. Thankfully when they're in season, a butternut squash is only about 78 cents at my local produce market!
  • If you don't have an immersion blender and have to pour your soup into a blender, I'd suggest pouring it back into the pot and heating it through. I tasted my soup shortly after I threw it in the blender, and it had definitely cooled down. If you DO have an immersion blender, just keep the heat on low until it's pureed to your desired consistency.

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