First, let me take a moment to be real self centered and say: Happy Birthday Go for 30! Three (!) years ago today, I wrote my very first blog post, all about how I had decided to give up washing my hair. (Not really — it was about not using shampoo and conditioner anymore. And if you’re wondering, yes, I still wash my hair with baking soda and apple cider vinegar. Commitment!)
Ok, enough about that. In my quest to forever master more soup recipes, I came up with this recipe for butternut squash soup. Here’s the thing: I love the idea of butternut squash soup. I love the color, I love the texture, I love the health factor… but I freaking hate sweet soup. I don’t know — there’s something about sweet, starchy veggies that I just can’t get on board with. Candied yams? Ugh. Sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping? I can’t even go there. As a result, I combined and modified a few different recipes I found for butternut squash soup to make this slightly spicy, full-flavored butternut business.
I found that combining the squash with a lot of other veggies was a good start. Roasting everything together kept things simple and flavorful — basically two of my favorite things in the cooking world. Combine it all with some stock, round it out with spices, and you’ve got yourself a really good thing going.
Let’s just get right down to it, shall we?
- 1 huge-ish butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into chunks*
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts sliced in half, then cut into 3-inch sections
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 celery stalk, cut into chunks
- 3 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
- 1 small apple, cored, cut into fourths
- 2 medium yellow potatoes, cut into chunks
- 2 garlic cloves, whole, peeled
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4-6 cups veggie and/or chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- cayenne pepper
- Optional: 1/4-1/2 cup half and half
- Toppings (optional): fresh chives, crispy bacon or prosciutto
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Combine all veggies/fruit onto sheet pan(s) in a single layer, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. (I used coarse salt and quite a bit of pepper.) Place in oven and roast until fork-tender, 25-35 minutes.
- Heat stock on stove until just heated through.
- When veggies are done roasting, transfer from pan into a large pot. Cover with 2-3 cups stock, then blend everything with a hand blender. Add more stock one ladleful at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
- Once everything is pureed and the desired consistency is reached, add cinnamon and nutmeg. Add additional salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. (Keep in mind that cayenne pepper is one of those spices that builds as you eat it, so the soup will taste progressively spicier as you eat a whole bowl of it.)
- Bring soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Let simmer for a bit (I did about 30 min, but you could probably get away with less.)
- Optional: add a splash of half and half at the end (to taste); top bowls with fresh minced chives and/or crispy bacon or prosciutto.
*You could use a combination of other similar winter squashes here as well –any combo of 1-2 sugar pumpkins, acorn squash, or kabocha squash would probably work well.