Sunday, November 4, 2012

Soup Sunday - Butternut Squash Soup

I am excited to share this week's Soup Sunday recipe. My friend, Heather, is here guest blogging and sharing a recipe she has made several times this fall using butternut squash. I don't think I had ever cooked with butternut squash before trying this recipe - acorn squash, lots of times - but not butternut so I was especially interested. When my family ate it for the first time today, my two year old, Oliver said to me "I yike you soup, mama!" I am thrilled to have another cozy soup recipe that my family loves. Heather has done a fabulous job of explaining the process and uses great pictures to illustrate how she does it...

Ingredients needed...

1 cup chopped onion
4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick of unsalted butter)
1 halved butternut squash
3 cups of chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. all-purpose seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

The first thing to do is roast the halved squash. This recipe is for one batch, but I rarely make just one batch. I almost always make a double batch since I want to use the entire squash. We eat one batch for dinner that night, and I freeze the second batch for another time.  

*Note: So if you are intending to use the whole butternut squash, you will want to hop down to the "double batch directions" below and remember to double the ingredients listed above.

If I am making a single batch, I will usually cook the squash in the microwave. You slice the squash in half from the stem on down. You should have two identical shaped halves. You can scrape the seeds out now or after it’s roasted. Place the cut side down in a baking dish with enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Microwave on high for 30 – 45 minutes or until squash is tender and the skin is starting to peel away. You can check for doneness by sticking a sharp knife into the flesh. It should pierce with no resistance.

When I am making a double batch, I usually roast both halves in the oven by placing cut sides down on a cookie sheet with enough water to cover the bottom. Roast at 400 degrees for about 1 hour, checking for doneness using a sharp knife. Once the squash is cooked, let it cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes or so. You can then scoop out the flesh (making sure to remove and discard the seeds if you haven’t already) and add the flesh to the blender.
My roasted squash. You can see where I pierced it with a knife to check for doneness.

This is what it looks like prior to scooping out the flesh. I left my seeds in and removed them after cooking, but just before I took this picture.

This is what your squash should look like once you’ve scooped all the flesh out.

While the squash is roasting, melt the butter in a non-stick pan until it sizzles. Add the onion, salt and pepper.  I like to use about a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.   Cook the onion for 10-15 minutes over medium-high heat or until they are translucent and a bit caramelized.

Add the cooked onions and squash, softened cream cheese, and prepared chicken stock to blender and puree for one minute or until completely blended.  Taste for seasoning. I like to add 1 tsp. of Zehnders all-purpose seasoning.
Depending on the size of your squash, you may want to only add 2 cups of chicken broth to start. If you like your soup thick and creamy, you may want to stop at the two cups. We prefer it a bit thinner, so I usually add all three cups.
If you haven’t tried Better Than Bouillon chicken base, I would highly recommend it.  The base stays good in the refrigerator for months, and you can make the exact amount of chicken stock you need. You simply add 1 cup of hot water to 1 tsp. of base. I heat my water in the microwave for 1 minute and then whisk in the base. Super easy! You can find the base where you would normally buy chicken stock.
This soup is great with croutons, crackers, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Enjoy!

Thanks, again, Heather for sharing your recipe on Sister-Dipity!

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