Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Butternut Squash Soup: Another Score For The Soup File

I don't recall eating much squash growing up.

Correction: I don't think I ate squash growing up.

I remember one time my mom made a spaghetti squash that she bought from our local pumpkin farm.  She said that my dad loved spaghetti squash and so we were all going to give it a try.  I could be wrong...it may have been buttered and seasoned?  But to the best of my recollection it was just a pile of those funny yellow "noodles" on my plate.

Pretty sure I didn't finish my serving.

These days my tune has changed quite a bit and I really enjoy branching out and trying new ways to prepare squash.  It's all new to me actually.  :-)

Do you remember that Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai I made a couple of years ago?
So delicious!  Also super popular over on Allrecipes ever since it was published- 52 reviews and counting!  :-)

Image via julesfuel.com
Anyway, so I've been dipping my toes farther and farther into the world of squash lately but one variety that sounded delightful but I had yet to try was butternut.
That's just a happy little name for a squash, isn't it?


As I've fully embraced soup season this Fall and I've been diligently stocking my soup file I thought I might as well try out a butternut squash soup.  I actually tried a little butternut squash soup at lunch on my Allrecipes trip last month and definitely thought it was worth trying at home!

Butternut squash is fairly easy to work with and I found it much more willing to be sliced with a knife than a spaghetti squash.  Like other squash it does have some seeds and strings inside but most of the inside of the squash was just flesh so it wasn't overwhelming to prep.

One of the great things about Allrecipes is that you get to benefit from the experience of others who have come before you- not having any experience with this kind of squash or this kind of soup I definitely checked those reviews!  I ended up following some of their suggestions and tweaking the original recipe a little bit.

I started by roasting the squash.  Since I was also adding apple I roasted it as well, just adding it to the oven about 20 minutes before the squash was done.  I cut the cream cheese a little, added some nutmeg and salt- I also added a cornstarch slurry at the end to thicken the soup up a little.

Not having any experience with a soup like this I could be way off the mark but it seems to me that there's a pretty big difference in the thickness people prefer.  The soup I was served in Des Moines was very thin- too thin for my liking.  I ended up just dipping bread in it.  The unmodified version of this recipe calls for two full blocks of cream cheese- that's a bit too rich for my taste.
I just wanted the thickness without the extra cheese.  If you like your soup thin feel free to leave the slurry out!

This soup was SO GOOD!!  Definitely one I will be repeating.  My husband suggested that it would also be good with some shredded cheddar and bacon mixed in- I can't say that I disagree, that would be delicious!  Personally I ate this on an evening when I had just prepared roasted beets and sweet potatoes and about half of the way through polishing off my bowl I decided to try topping the soup with a little bit of the mixture.  WOWSERS.

Yes, that's right, I said wowsers.  And I meant it.

I'm so smitten with this soup- I can't wait to make it again!

6 Tbsp chopped onion
4 Tbsp butter
1 medium butternut squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 granny smith apple, peeled and chopped
3 C water
4 cubes chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
1 Tbsp cornstarch, optional
1 Tbsp cold water, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400° F.  Slice butternut squash in half lengthwise; scoop out and discard seeds and strings from inside squash.  Place squash on foil-lined baking sheet cut side up.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 40 minutes.

2. Remove pan from oven and add apple.  Return to oven for another 20 minutes.

3. In a large pot, sauté onions in butter until tender. Add squash (scooped from skin), apple, water, bouillon, marjoram, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boil.  Add cream cheese to soup.  Using an immersion blender puree until smooth.

4. If desired to thicken soup, in a small bowl whisk together cornstarch and cold water until smooth.  Stir cornstarch slurry into the simmering soup.  Bring to a boil and stir as soup thickens.  Repeat if thicker soup is desired.

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