Thursday, October 28, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Okay, it’s offical. I am addicted to squash. It started with a question on facebook, “What should I make this week?” Being the beginning of fall, everyone seemed to be in the mood for squash. Acorn squash and pumpkin and butternut squash. So many suggestions, all involving those weird looking vegetables! Or are they fruits? Anyways… I have to break it to you, before last week I had never eaten a squash. I was so concerned about cooking with these wacky ingredients.

I mean come on, acorn squash looks totally strange! It was the first bit of produce that I took on, making acorn squash ravioli. I’m looking over a dozen recipes for squash ravioli and thinking “Nutmeg? Who puts nutmeg in pasta?” Apparently I do, because this ravioli was amazing. Although perhaps it was the browned butter.

Next up was pumpkin. I have never been a pumpkin pie fan. Maybe this is because I’ve never had a good pumpkin pie? Since I have a problem with pancakes, in that I eat way too many of them, I decided to start there. Do you know if there is such a thing as Pancakeaholics anonymous? I think that I need to join that group. Thankfully the pancakes turned out heavenly, and so did the cookies, and so did the cupcakes (stay tuned!).

My final hurdle was this odd looking butternut squash. I kept putting it off, which was okay, because squash is hearty. It sat on my counter, staring at me, mocking me. Can squashes laugh? Because I think this one was laughing at me too. No more laughing at me squash! I’m going to take a vegetable peeler to you! Ha! Who’s laughing now squash? You’re naked! Okay, time to make soup.

Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Giada at Home

I upped the carrots in the original recipe which gave this soup an amazing color. You can change out some or all of the water for stock. If you want to make this vegetarian then change out the chicken stock for vegetable stock.  I served it up with a dallop of sour cream to add some tang and creaminess.

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 carrots, chopped into ½-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ½-3 lb butternut squash, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes
3 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 cups water
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup sage, chopped
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrot and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add squash, chicken stock, water and kosher salt. Bring soup to a boil and maintain boil for about 20 minutes. You want the vegetables to be fork tender.

Remove from the heat and add nutmeg and sage. Puree with a handheld blender (my favorite) or in a blender. Process until thick and smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
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