Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Hearty Butternut Squash Soup

Hearty Butternut Squash Soup
I love butternut squash! My favorite way to eat it is as a soup, but I always find that the canned versions are too milky or too subdued.  I wanted to come up with a way to showcase butternut squash and its bold flavor.  I pump up the volume by roasting it first and adding sweet apple and red onion… so good!

Makes 4-5 servings

3lb butternut squash, peeled, 
       seeded, ½ inch dice
       (about 7 cups squash chunks)
1 medium sized red onion, 
       ½-1 inch dice
1 large apple, peeled, cored, 
       ½-1 inch dice (Gala, 
       Honeycrisp, or Cripps Pink)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons 
       extra-virgin olive oil, separated
1 ½ teaspoons salt, separated
¾ teaspoon pepper, separated
2 cups unsweetened almond milk or cow’s milk
1 cup water

            Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine butternut squash, ¼ cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper.  Mix well.  Place seasoned squash onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and set aside.
In the same large bowl, combine red onion, apple, 2 tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.  Mix Well.  Place seasoned onion and apple onto another baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Place both baking sheets in the oven.  Bake for 35 minutes until the squash, onion, and apple are soft and fork tender.  Let cool, 5-6 minutes.
In a food processor or blender, blend together softened squash, apples, and onions with 2 cups unsweetened almond milk or cow’s milk and 1 cup water. Blend well, until a smooth puree is made.*
Heat puree in a medium sauce pan over low heat, stirring often to keep it from bubbling up.  Once heated, ladle hot soup into bowls.  Serve with toasted baguettes** or Lauren Marie’s ItalianCroutons. Enjoy!

Lauren Marie’s Tips:
*This is a thick soup because you get a bolder flavor that way and plus, that’s how my family likes it. But if your family prefers a thinner soup, add ¼ cup of water or almond milk at a time while the puree is still in the food processor or blender, and blend well.  Repeat until you get the consistency you want. 

 **I love “Against the Grain Gourmet” gluten free baguettes.  I like to cut thin slices and toast them either in a toaster oven or in a 350 degree oven, 10-12 minutes (longer if they are not thawed out). Then I drizzle extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle garlic granules, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  And ta-da! A fast and easy garlic toast that goes great with the soup!

How to cut a butternut squash:
It takes a sharp knife and a little muscle to cut a butternut squash, but the end result is completely worth it! 

First, peel off outer skin with a sharp vegetable peeler or knife.

There are two main parts: the skinny top part and the fatter bottom part 
(the "butt" of the butternut as I like to call it).  Make a cut in between the two.

Set the skinny part on a cutting board so it sits flat and steady. 
Then slice and chop.       

The bottom part has seeds.  So it requires just one more step.  
Cut the bottom in half and you will find the seeds.

Simply use a spoon to remove the seeds from each half.  I actually love this part because the smell reminds me of carving pumpkins.

After it's seeded, chop, and continue with the recipe.

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