Monday, December 31, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

I'm not the biggest soup connoisseur  Not at all. Perhaps it's because I grew up in the South where a warm cup of hot soup soothing down the throat on a cold winter night is something that is rarely needed around here. It was 75 degrees and humid on Christmas Eve last week! So as you see, soup is not in my repertoire As a child the only soup I can recall ever eating was minestrone soup with rice. (Yes, pasta, potatoes and rice in my soup, I was starch obsessed and still am.) I recall my brother loving tomato soup and wonton soup and I kept far, far away from both. And no, I was not that person in college who horded all of  the top ramen from HEB, I preferred Uncle Ben's frozen rice bowls when it came to high sodium/processed foods. It was my way of exerting my high brow on quick and easy food.

Maybe I've stayed away from soup because I'm more of a salad person than soup.As long as there is no cheese or cream based dressing, I'll consume any salad. Which is fitting for the climate I love in, isn't salad  meant for the summer while soup is for the winter. Perhaps that's why Hubby loves him some soup, he is from the North?

It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I first had Butternut Squash soup at a friend's house that I fell in love. I believe it was a cool day and thus the warm, rich flavor gliding down my throat tasted amazing! Come to think of it, I don't believe I had consumed butternut squash before this. (Perhaps I did in some indian dish but didn't know the English name for it. It's possible.) It was superb. I was convinced that it had a dose of cream in the recipe because it tasted so good. So as soon I went home I went looking for recipes and was surprised that there were many a recipe that had no cream, just butternut squash and broth! So of course I had to make it.

Unfortunately, the first time I made it I didn't keep the recipe! Uggh! So I went back to make it again and found a low calorie version on Ellie Krieger's Food Network page (She takes classic, rich recipes and makes them healthy.)  Her version had curry powder in it, which as an Indian I stay away from. (it's the Western version of combining every Indian spice into one powder. In India we don't say something tastes like curry, because curry powder doesn't exist.) But I did have the powder in my pantry which I purchased in naive, amateur cooking frenzy and tried the recipe. That taste wasn't the best, but I did like the flavor of honey in the recipe. And so I took the same recipe sans the curry powder and it was a huge hit! Even Bambina loved it dipped with some fresh, warm, crusty ciabatta bread.

Click here for the original recipe.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 butternut squash seeded and cut into 1 inch pieces
6 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon salt or more to taste
2 tablespoons honey

1. Heat oil on medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and garlic and saute.

2. Add butternut squash, broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until squash is tender. (I put the squash in the pressure cooker to cook and then added it to the broth, but next time I will probably try this way to save a step.)

3. Remove from heat, stir in honey and blend with an immersion blender. (I don't have an immersion blender so I just put the whole thing in the blender.)

4. Season with salt to taste, as needed. Yum!

Amateur Difficulty Cooking Scale: 3
This soup is pretty simple to make, not too many steps, but cutting up the butternut squash is a pain! You have to have a really sharp knife to get into it. You could always cut the squash in half and roast it in the oven and then scoop out the pulp and throw it into the broth and let simmer.

And it freezes well! So don't think you're going to make too much soup, you can easily save it in individual servings in the freezer!

Overall, amazing soup! I like to eat it alongside the chickpea salad sandwich or just a plain ol' veggie burger.

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