Sunday, January 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

I know, I know.  I've already done a post on butternut squash.  But I got a great new box of fruits and veggies from Washington's Green Grocer and I really wanted to use what I had! In the box was a medium butternut squash and some granny smith apples, so I decided to try my hand at using this combination in a soup.  I am so excited about the results that I can't wait to share the recipe with you all!

Making soup is one of my favorite ways to save money.  You can use standard soup ingredients (onions, garlic, olive oil, carrots, etc) that you should have in your pantry and make different soups based on the additional ingredients you have in your fridge. Although a butternut squash and apple soup may sound weird, their combination is timeless.  The apple brings out the natural sweetness of the squash while not making it too sweet.  The touch of sour cream on top of each bowl adds not only to the soup's presentation, but the tart cream compliments the sweet soup to balance the flavors.

So with a few ingredients that you may not have in your pantry (butternut squash, leeks, & apples) along with your usual pantry items, you should be able to make a comforting, elegant soup for just a little pocket change.

Butternut Squash Soup
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp butter
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium leek, cleaned and chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 medium granny smith apple, cored and cubed
1 cup shredded carrots (or one large carrot chopped)
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp nutmeg
4 cups (1 box) chicken stock
sour cream (optional)

  • Put the olive oil and butter into a large soup pot on medium-high.  Once the butter is melted, add the onion and garlic. 
  • While the onions and garlic are cooking, chop the rest of your ingredients.  The butternut squash is a bit tricky, so be careful or buy the pre-cut squash.  For the leeks, cut them in half, then chop into tiny moons.  Leeks hold a lot of "grit" in them, so after you cut them, place them in a big bowl of water.  The grit will fall to the bottom while the leeks float.  Scoop out the leeks from the bowl and place in a strainer (dumping everything into the strainer will also move the grit, so don't dump it all!)
  • After you have chopped all your ingredients, put them into the hot pan.  Season the veggies with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  
  • Add the chicken stock, cover, and bring to a simmer.  This should cook for 30-40 minutes, or until you can easily stick a knife into the butternut squash.
  • Once the soup is fully cooked, use an immersion or stand blender to puree the soup.  If using the stand blender, make sure to do small batches and to keep the hole in the top of the lid open.  Place a towel over the hole to protect yourself just incase some of the hot liquid should come out.  Make sure to start blending on a low speed, then move to high until you get a smooth consistency.
  • All that's left is to check your seasonings and serve!  

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