Butternut Squash Soup

In years past I’ve never been one to get excited about eating soup as the weather got cooler. As a kid I ate my fair share of Campbell’s soup, but as I got older soup just didn’t appeal to me. I don’t drink hot beverages (coffee, tea, etc.) and I always wondered if my aversion to hot beverages played a role in my lack of interest in soup. Turns out, that probably isn’t the case as I seem to have discovered a new love of soup in the past few months! I’ve found there’s comfort in the simplicity of a big bowl of soup and a roll or a slice of warm bread. This winter I hope to try my hand at making a few soups and the first one on my list was butternut squash soup.

Butternut Squash Soup

My love of butternut squash is well documented so it was an easy choice to start there. I went with a really simple, basic recipe this time from the Whole Foods site (though I have included their variations along with the recipe below). The only change I made to the recipe was to add a bit of cream at the end for some extra richness. I used just over 4 cups of stock in my soup so it was fairly thick, but if you like a thinner consistency you could move toward the upper range provided in recipe. I enjoyed the soup a lot – it’s very earthy and not too sweet. I seem to be coming down with something (hopefully a cold and not the flu) so there’s probably a lot of soup in my future!

Butternut Squash Soup
from WholeFoodsMarket.com

2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup diced carrot (about 1 (8-inch) large carrot)
1/2 cup diced celery (about 1 (11-inch) large stalk)
2/3 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 to 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add butternut squash and thyme. Stir to combine with vegetables. Stir in chicken broth and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree soup. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and carefully puree in batches in a traditional blender.

Apple, Gorgonzola and Almond
Follow recipe above and stir a cup of applesauce into pureed soup. Garnish each serving with a tablespoon crumbled Rogue Creamery Gorgonzola, a tablespoon of toasted whole almonds, a few slices of thinly sliced apple and a small sprig of fresh thyme.

Thai Flavors
Stir a tablespoon red curry paste and 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger into carrot, celery and onion mixture. Cook until vegetables are tender and ginger is aromatic. Add squash, cook until tender, then add broth and 1/2-cup light or regular coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper. Puree soup and garnish each serving with 1 or 2 pappadums, a tablespoon toasted coconut flakes and a tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro.

Southwestern Spin
Add a tablespoon chopped chipotles in adobo to carrot, celery and onion mixture. Cook until vegetables are tender. Add squash, cook until tender, then add broth. Season with salt and pepper. Puree soup and garnish each serving with 2 tablespoons crumbled queso fresco, a tablespoon cumin-toasted pumpkin seeds and a tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro.