Soups fixes everything. We turn to it to fix our ills when we are sick because each comforting bite is a familiar hug that warms us from the inside out. Last weekend my family and I went on our yearly apple picking adventure upstate in Tivoli, New York. While we end up drinking and eating more than we do picking, our real joy is not in the bushels of apples we bring home, but in the abundance of fresh vegetables available to pick on the grounds. This is the time of year I wait for all year, when I get to break out the recipes I’ve been saving with more exotic vegetables that we do not often have on hand during the rest of the year.
My sister is an avid vegetable hater, so you can imagine my surprise when she requested Butternut Squash Soup after seeing our squash haul. The prospect of pleasing everyone in the house with one meal and not having to disguise the vegetables masquerading in my sister’s meal was too good to pass up. This soup is derived from a French recipe, incorporating both butternut squash and pumpkin to create a smooth, thick savory soup that perfectly encompasses the flavors of the season.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups chopped yellow onions (for me this was half a large sweet onion)
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup half & half
- Heat the butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed dutch oven or stockpot. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until translucent. When the onions are ready, add the pumpkin purée, butternut squash, chicken stock, salt and pepper.
- Cover the pot and simmer for about 30 minutes stirring intermittently until the butternut squash is very tender.
- Process the vegetable mixture into a smooth puree using either an immersion blender or transferring to a blender and processing.
- When the soup is well blended, with no remaining lumps, add in the half & half and finish with nutmeg incorporating evenly.
To jazz up the recipe even more, garnish with shaved cheese, like Gruyère or Parmesan or buttery croutons.
Another option for pureeing the butternut squash is to use a food mill, which the original recipe suggests. While I have a food mill, I haven’t the faintest idea of how to use it.
Got a squash and don’t know how to break it down? That’s easy. Cut off the bottom 1″ and top 1″ of the squash. Remove the hard outer layer of skin on the squash using a sharp vegetable peeler. Lay the squash flat on a cutting board, driving the point of your knife through the center and then pressing down so the blade makes a clean cut through one end. Remove the blade and rotate the squash starting again in the middle and pressing the blade down to cut through to the other side. Voila! The squash should now be sliced right down the middle into two parts. At the bottom of the two pieces there will be a depression with seeds and pulp. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and pulp until the flesh of the squash is left. Cut the remaining squash into cubes.