Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup

Fall is here!  Even though there have been some unusually warm days in St Louis, it's a great time to make homemade soup.  This is one of my favorite fall soups, although I believe this is considered a potage.  A potage, French in origin, is a category of thick soup in which the vegetables are boiled then mashed together.  In the 12th and 13th centuries French peasants would gather root vegetables and squash from their gardens to make the potage.  Although this timeless soup is inexpensive to make, it has a thick, rich, and creamy texture.  

I used butternut squash as my base ingredient, but you have many options {potato & leek, pumpkin, sweet potato & carrot}.  I vary the ingredients year to year, depending on what catches my fancy at the Farmer's Market.  When making a potage with a wide variety of veggies, try to balance the sweet {butternut, kabocha, carrots} with savory {onions, leeks, turnip}.  A new vegetable peaked my interest this year, the Kabocha Squash.  The exterior looks like a small green pumpkin and the interior flesh is a light orange hue with a floral fragrance.  This type of squash is sweet, similar to a yam. The Kabocha squash is harder to cut than a raw butternut squash, so I recommend cooking  the squash to soften it prior to cutting {I microwaved it 1-2 minutes or you can bake it} 

 

Fall's Harvest-Basket of Vegetables

Fall's Harvest-Basket of Vegetables

This soup is hearty enough for a main course, but a smaller portion would make a fine accompaniment to a meat entree.  This soup tastes slightly sweet, but you can modify the seasonings by adding Italian peperoncino for a spicy kick or yellow curry for a Middle Eastern flare.  I like to top each bowl of soup with Parmesan crisps and serve garlic & olive oil rubbed toasts on the side.  I can't think of a better way to savor the Fall harvest.  Here's to good food and gladness!  

 

 

Ingredients for Butternut Squash Soup

  • 5 cups of butternut squash (about 2#), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of Kabocha squash, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 turnip, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2-3 medium leeks, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock (refer "Mushroom Risotto" post on July 23,2013 for  stock recipe  http://foodandgladness.com/food/2013/7/23/mushroom-risotto)
  • 1/2 cup of half and half
  • 2 tablespoons each of butter and extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (buy the tube, easier to reuse) 
  • 1 tablespoon salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

 

 

Directions

  • In a large Dutch oven or medium stock pot, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, pinch of salt, and tomato paste; cook until onions begin to caramelize.  Add all other veggies and saute 3-5 minutes. Add vegetable stock, salt/pepper, and thyme; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, simmer for 20-30 minutes until squash is fork tender.
  • Allow soup to slightly cool.  Ladle soup into blender, fill blender about 1/2 to 3/4 full.  Remove center of blender lid to allow steam to escape; cover the top of blender with a towel then blend until smooth.  Transfer into a soup tureen or large serving bowl.  Once all the soup is blended, stir in half and half.  If you do not serve immediately, allow the soup to cool completely before placing in storage containers. Refrigerate up to one week, freeze for 3 months.
  • Makes about 8- one cup servings.