Cool winter evenings demand that curvaceous flesh- toned beauty, still readily available in supermarkets for hearty, warming meals. That’s right, the sweet, long-lasting and bodacious Butternut and other squash varieties make for a delicious soup that never fails to please.
Butternut squash (Latin: Cucurbita Moschata) has a sweet, nutty taste similar to that of a pumpkin. It’s yellow skin turns darker orange, and the flesh becomes sweeter and richer as it ripens. The most popular variety in the U.S. is Waltham’s Butternut, originally developed in Massachusetts. Australian’s consider the Butternut a type of pumpkin and use it interchangeably with other types of pumpkins. Butternut is a great source of vitamin A,C, and E , as well as beta-carotene, fiber, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. Other squash varieties can be substituted.
Butternut Squash Soup
Prep Time: 90 minutes serves 3-4
3 cups Butternut squash (one medium squash)
1 Onion, roughly chopped
1 Clove garlic, roughly chopped
1 Red Jalapeno finely chopped
3 Tbsp. salted butter (or margarine)
3 cups chicken stock/broth (or vegetable)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (or half- &-half)
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Shaved parmesan, cilantro, or parsley
1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Wash the squash, carefully remove ends and cut in half lengthwise with large knife. Remove seeds and thick fibers from center. Line a baking dish with foil and coat with olive oil or cooking spray. Lightly salt and pepper halves and place cut side down in baking dish and bake on center rack of oven until tender – about 35-45 minutes. Squash may be finished under broiler for about 5-10 minutes to add a stronger roasted flavor. Be careful not to burn!
2. Just as squash is finishing in oven, heat your large soup pot on stovetop and sauté onions and garlic in butter until translucent and starting to caramelize.
3. Remove squash from oven when a fork easily penetrates the thickest part of the flesh. Allow squash to cool until you can handle it. Scoop out flesh with a large spoon and place in soup pot along with chicken stock, finely chopped jalapeno pepper, and ground ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Carefully pour half of cooked mixture into blender to avoid expansion of hot liquid, purée for 30 seconds, and then pour into large mixing bowl. Repeat for second half. Long pants and sleeves recommended when handling hot liquids!
5. Stir all of puréed mixture back into soup pot over medium-low heat along with heavy cream. Simmer for 5-10 minutes to marry flavors.
6. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with shaved hard cheese, apple slices, or fresh herbs. Enjoy!
Add dashes of turmeric, cumin and cayenne for a spicier Indian flare
Add nutmeg, clove, or cinnamon and a few spoons of honey for a sweet, fall season tummy warmer
Add sage, savory, tarragon, thyme, parsley, and splash of white wine for a Mediterranean twist
Local Wine Pairings:
2009 Bloomfield Vineyards Contra Costa County Pinot Grigio
2008 Shadowbrook Winery Contra Costa Chardonnay