Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup is at the height of it’s glory right now... but you’ll find that butternut squash does not have a corner on the soup market.  Any winter squash - as long as it’s dense and not too watery - will work in this very simple to make soup.  We couldn’t believe how velvety smooth it turned out. 

Pureed soups are perfect for the bone-chilling temperatures that are still waiting in the wings.  What makes a pureed soup different than your typical cream soup?  It is thickened with pulp - usually that of a vegetable.  This makes the flavor less starchy than soups thickened with flour or cornstarch - and that translates into fewer calories.  

Last summer I planted a “mystery” squash - thinking it was a larger, odd-shaped zucchini.  Turns out it was the perfect winter squash, and it makes the texture in this soup unforgettable.  Butternut is not the only squash that makes a wonderful soup (see the recipe for Smooth-as-Silk Banana Squash Soup HERE)

Most recipes for Butternut Squash Soup have you peel the raw squash and cube it - which is a LOT of work.  I prefer to have the oven do the work for me - eliminating the tedious peeling and cutting of a very HARD squash.  The key is to bake it until barely tender, then process it immediately.

To keep the flavor interesting (all squash would be extremely bland) - a small amount of additional vegetables are boiled in chicken bouillon as the squash bakes. 

You’ll need a good blender to make this soup as creamy as possible.  Be careful not to overfill the container, which can stress the motor - as well as burn you when if it can’t handle the volume.  I always place a kitchen towel over the top of my blender before starting it - even though it probably wouldn’t completely guarantee your safety, (but it always makes me feel better if something were to happen).  

It was fun watching this come together in the blender.  It took a few batches to get through all the vegetables & squash - which were then poured into a large pot to combine.  A drizzle of cream mellowed the flavors, and added richness.

For the full recipe, with step-by-step directions & photos - go to:

PS - I've 'graduated' from surviving on soups/smoothies/etc...  I'm feeling much better and things are improving. I spent Thanksgiving in Florida on an Air Force base with my sweet daughter Melyn & her husband Cam spoiling me (to the max).  With beautiful weather in the 70's/80's - lots of sun, clear blue water, white-sugar sand beaches, etc... who wouldn't feel better? 

I have a LOT to be grateful for.  If you're interested in what's been happening, check out this post)


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