So Easy Butternut Squash Soup
Makes approximately 6 servings
Can be doubled | Can be halved | Makes great leftovers | Freezes well
I begin craving this soup in early autumn, when big displays of winter squashes start to appear at the farmers markets… But a great thing about winter squashes is that they’re “in season” all winter long! We’re lucky to have some good year-round markets in this region, they simply move indoors for the snowy months. On a cold and dreary Saturday morning in late February, it’s a healthy outing, heading into town to grab a few things at the indoor farmers market when we might otherwise be tempted to stay in the house, huddled near the wood stove. And, making a pot of soup is a perfect way to spend part of the afternoon once we get back home with our goodies.
A winter squash has a great “shelf life” from the time you pick it, or buy it. If it takes a week, or two or even a month before you decide to cook it, it will be ready for you, and meanwhile it’s a nice decoration for the counter or windowsill. You’ll get multiple meals out of this recipe, which makes for easy meal planning. ~ Susan
1 tablespoon butter, olive oil or, a combination
1 medium-small onion – diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large stalk celery – thin slices
2 medium carrots – thin slices
1 2-lb butternut squash, seeded* – 1 inch chunks
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or minced sage leaves (3/4 teaspoon dried)
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh minced rosemary leaves (3/4 teaspoon dried)
water as needed (or vegetable or chicken broth for a richer flavor)
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
a few pinches of sugar, or maple syrup or agave nectar, if needed, to bring up the sweetness
* Buy organic, no need to peel it first! It purees beautifully.
Heat the butter or oil in a soup pot on medium heat. Use a spatula to spread it around the bottom of the pot.
Add onion and sautee until lightly browned. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent onion from burning.
Add celery, carrot, squash, herbs and just enough water to come to the top of the vegetables. Bring it to a boil on high heat, cover and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender.
Puree, using an immersion blender, until it is velvety smooth. Or, use a counter top blender and puree the soup in smaller batches. Taste and add a bit of sugar if necessary to bring up the sweetness (some squashes are naturally sweet, sometimes they like a little coaxing).
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and simmer another 5 minutes on low heat, allowing the flavors to meld. This soup only gets better if it has a chance to sit for a few hours before reheating and serving.
Top each bowl with a few grates of a hard goat cheese such as Castellano. Other good grating choices: Asiago, Parmesan, Romano, Grana Padano, Aged Manchego, Gruyere, Mimolette, Cotija, Ricotta Salata. Garnish with parsley and a dash of cayenne. Serve with a green salad dressed with a basic vinaigrette and a slice of whole grain toast.
Try leftover soup ladled over a bowl of warm brown rice or quinoa, topped again with parsley and a few shavings of cheese. Add a handful toasted pine nuts and call it lunch!