11 January 2010

Butternut Squash Soap, er, Soup - Seriously yummy for cold days

I encountered this recipe in an unassuming email from Allrecipes.com back in the fall, and have, since then, played with it and tweaked it to make it my own.  I think the best incarnation of this recipe to date was the last batch I made, and here's the recipe for it.

You'll need:


2 cups butternut squash (1/2 large one)
1 large sweet potato (can also use white, but sweet gives you more fiber & nutrients, plus flavor)
3 T. butter or margarine
1 medium onion, diced
2 large leeks, chopped, white and light green parts only
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 medium tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 qt. chicken stock (chicken broth is OK to substitute)
1/2 cup half 'n half (or any milk over 2% fat)
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. fresh-grated nutmeg (can use ground)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon


Foil-lined cookie sheet
Dutch oven
Sharp knife
Cutting board
Stick blender

A couple of hours before you wish to start your soup, bake your squash and sweet potato.  Stab them both with a fork 8 times going around and bake them at 350 for an hour, turning halfway.  Placing them on a foil-lined cookie sheet will save your oven.  Once they're done, let them cool a bit.  It's OK if they're not completely done in the center.

Melt butter in dutch oven and cook the onion and leeks over medium heat until they're transluscent, about five minutes.

Slice the squash in half and discard the seeds.  Set half aside for later use; it freezes well.  Scoop out 2 cups (all of the half squash) from the peel and place it in the dutch oven.  Slice the potato in half and remove the peel; place in pot.  Put apple, carrot and chicken stock in the pot, and cook it for 20 minutes at medium heat, covered, or until carrots are tender.

Turn heat back to low.  Using the stick blender, puree the soup in the pot until it comes to a nice medium trace.  (Sorry.  Chose not to resist.)  Slowly stir in half-n-half.  Add spices and let sit for ten minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.  (The original recipe says it makes 4 servings, but we serve this in small salad/soup/cereal bowls as a side with dinner; each bowl holds 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups.)

This is a great, veggie-rich soup to accompany sandwiches or crusty cheese bread.  The squash and sweet potato combine to make the soup somewhat sweet, but the cumin adds just the right amount of "bite" to offset it, a trick I discovered after lunch at Atlantic Bread Company one day and which my daughter, who didn't much care for the first 3 batches of soup, declared "really good."  You can adjust the spices to your taste.  Just be mindful that the nutmeg and cumin both impart pretty strong flavors and should be used with care.

Bon Appetit! :-)

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