Sunday, November 28, 2010

My little butternut has the sweetest smile

Someone once told me that upstate New York has two seasons: winter and July.  They couldn't be more correct.  I went to college up here, but don't remember being so cold all the time. Maybe all that alcohol kept me warm.  (If you're my father, "alcohol" is slang for nutritious dining hall food.)

Needless to say, I've been going soup-crazy trying to stay warm.  The CSA wrapped up recently, leaving several butternut squashes to consume.  I'd been wanting to try butternut squash soup for ages, so I figured it was as good a time as any.

Most of the work went into finding a recipe.  Who knew there were so many variations of butternut squash soup?  Many of them involve cream, cheese, and/or cream cheese.  Yum!  I'm into artery clogging as much as the next gal, but I just wasn't feeling it this time.

Then, I found the Best Butternut Squash Soup Ever.  Seriously, that's its name.  Could it really be the best, even without a hint of dairy?  Well, I don't know because I haven't tried any other butternut squash soups.  But this one was very easy to make and insanely tasty, so I'd say it's at least top five.

The Best Butternut Squash Soup Ever!
Yields 4 servings

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1/2 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
1 pinch ground cumin
1 pinch ground allspice
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Cook onion, garlic and thyme in butter until onion has softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add squash and chicken stock.
  4. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Crumble the bouillon into the soup.
  6. Season with cumin, allspice, salt and pepper.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Fish out the thyme sprigs. Pluck any remaining leaves from the sprigs. Put the leaves back in the soup and discard the sprigs.
  9. Get your handy immersion blender and go nuts.  I'd never used mine before, and I'm really glad there's no photographic evidence.  I was a woman possessed.

    If you don't have an immersion blender, pour it into a regular blender or food processor and similarly go nuts.

I doubled the recipe because frankly, what am I going to do with half a squash, onion AND bouillon cube?  Oh, I know!  Make more soup!  Genius.

My vegetable peeler works GREAT on carrots.  Squash, not so much.  If your peeler sucks as much as mine, use a knife, like 0:47 in this video:

The soup is thicker than it looks.  Most times, I couldn't even finish the bowl, let alone eat the bread served with it. Very filling!

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