November 2, 2009
As soon as you walk into any supermarket right now, you’re sure to be met with a bold, colorful and varied display of winter squash. Acorn squash, banana squash, spaghetti squash, buttercup squash, butternut squash, and pumpkins. Have you ever wondered, “What in the world do people do with all this stuff?” I used to.
I can’t really recall anybody from my family cooking with winter squash. If that’s the case for you too, know that these colorful round and odd shaped vegetables can offer wonderful variety to your autumn meals. They’re great for roasting and mashing, and using in baked goods and soup.
I’ve only begun to learn different ways to prepare winter squash, but warm, herb seasoned soup is one of my favorite uses for it, particularly using butternut squash. Butternut squash has a deliciously mild sweet flavor that kind of reminds me of sweet potatoes and it’s one of the winter squash varieties that’s easier to peel than others.
Butternut squash soup can be prepared various ways to give it flavor. It may include chicken broth or vegetable broth, cream or milk, or sprinkles of parmesan cheese, and the choice of spices to use are endless. I’ve seen two recipes that feature curry in the soup. I’m really looking forward to trying the recipe Dr. Sunyatta Amen, one of my dance instructors, recently featured for a tasty looking butternut squash soup that includes Thai curry and coconut milk.
My recipe uses vegetable broth, apples, sage and thyme. The apples add another mild layer of sweetness to the soup that contribute to its seasonal taste. Also, I especially love seasoning butternut squash soup with sage. Just like winter squash, sage reminds me of fall due to the herb often being used in roasted turkeys and dressing (stuffing). Using vegetable broth gives the soup a light flavor, but you can easily interchange it for chicken broth, which will add more body to the soup. Either way, it will be delicious!
Do you have any other way you like to prepare winter squash or butternut squash soup?
Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 4 – 5
Adapted from Deborah Madison’s recipe in
Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.
2.5 – 3 pound butternut squash
6 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to drizzle
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and cut into cubes
1 quart vegetable broth (4 cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Fresh ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Slice off the small top end of the squash, then with the squash standing upright, carefully cut it in half with a large chef’s knife (be careful). Scoop out the seeds of both halves of the squash and discard.
Drizzle and rub a little olive oil on the flesh side of both halves of squash including inside the cavities. Then, placing three cloves of garlic in each cavity, place the halves skin side down on a baking sheet and roast uncovered in the oven for about 30 – 40 minutes or until squash gives to pressure when touched.
Remove roasted squash from oven and allow to cool for about 10 – 15 minutes. Heat three tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat in a large Dutch oven or saucepan, and add onions, sage and thyme and cook stirring occasionally for about 5 – 8 minutes.
Scoop the flesh from the cooked squash into the pan (discard skin) and squeeze out the roasted garlic from their peels into the pan as well (discard peels). Stir together, add vegetable broth and apple cubes and bring to a boil briefly before lowering the heat to a simmer. Simmer soup for 20 minutes before pureeing in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender. Taste for additional seasoning and serve.