Monday, November 1, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Our highs are in the mid-upper 80's...that's a far cry from the triple digits of a month or so ago!  But other than the cooler temps, there's nothing here in the desert to show me that it's a different season...except what's on sale at the market!

The other day, I picked up a butternut squash for 69 cents!  (I don't know if that's cheap for the rest of the country, but it seems inexpensive to me).  Anywho...I saw the squash, and I knew I wanted one, so I bought one.  But I had no idea what to do with it. 

Somehow I got the idea to turn it into soup!  I Googled a recipe, and well, I didn't have everything that the recipe called for so, I just made up my own version.  It turned out really good.  Here's how I made it:

3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
4 cups homemade chicken stock
fresh nutmeg to taste

Heat the olive oil over medium.  Add all the vegetables and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the chicken stock (you could probably use vegetable stock if you prefer) (just enough to cover the veggies).  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 40 minutes.  Transfer probably 3/4 of the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth.  Use a potato masher to mash up the remaining veggies in the pot.  (I like this, because then you have all different textures in the soup- it seems more "rustic" this way).

Doesn't that look pretty? I started taking pictures of it because the colors reminded me of Autumn leaves. Lol!

I made a second batch to share at church yesterday evening, and I made a couple changes, and that turned out really good too!  Everyone loved it!  I omitted the sweet potato, and added two peeled and cubed regular potatoes.  I used store bought stock, so it wasn't quite as flavorful as the first batch, so I added salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ground ginger.  I think I really like the addition of potatoes...also the salt and pepper made a big difference. 

A couple more things about butternut squash:

I read that it was easier to prep the squash by leaving it whole and piercing it several times with a fork, then baking at 350 or so for about an can then cut it and easily scoop out the flesh of the squash...blah blah blah.  Okay, but for those of us that don't want to's really easy to peel and cube if you take a big (sharp) knife and cut off the stem and root ends, then cut it in half lengthwise...then cut horizontally at the part where it gets "skinny" so you have four pieces.  Then you can easily peel off the rind with a smaller knife.  It doesn't take that long with the right tools.  If you don't have good knives, then it's probably better to stick with the first method! ;-)

Oh! If you have some kind of gloves you can wear in the kitchen...use them!  Apparently there's some kind of sticky sap or something that is released from it as you cut it.  It got all over my left hand, and it really dried out the tips of my fingers.  At first I was thinking it was some kind of allergic reaction or something, but then I did some research and learned that many people have this issue with butternut squash.  It's not terribly worrisome, it does come off after several handwashes.  It was just a strange sensation that I would rather avoid next time.