I was at my favorite store last week–Trader Joes, of course–and found this beautiful butternut squash just sitting in a basket outside the front door waiting for me to pick it up. So I did. And since today felt like a good soup day, that’s what I made.
Butternut Squash Soup
- one good-sized butternut squash
- chicken or beef broth–about 4 cups
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- olive oil–enough for sauteing
- 4 TBSP butter
- 8-12 oz cream cheese and/or half-n-half
- seasonings: kosher salt, black pepper, sage, cayenne, garlic powder, freshly grated nutmeg
Using a potato peeler, peel of the outer skin of the squash. This can be a little tricky with all the curves, but if you just keep turning the squash this way and that, you’ll get it.
Cut the squash in half, like this:
Scoop out the seeds and stringy fibers, then chop both halves into 1″-ish pieces. Drizzle with four TBSP of melted butter and sprinkle with a little kosher salt and black pepper. Pop this in a 350 oven and cook until squash is tender–20-40 minutes.
While squash is baking, drizzle a little olive oil in a soup pot and saute the onion. When almost translucent, add the four cloves of garlic, minced. If you cook garlic too long, it has a tendency to get harsh and bitter. Best to add it at the very end. Also, if you happen to have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can find frozen mashed garlic in these cute little ice-cube-looking trays in the frozen section. I always have that on hand. Four cubes equals four cloves.
After cooking the onions and garlic together for about three minutes, begin to add your broth to the pot. Most recipes call for chicken broth for butternut squash soup, but I would rather use what I have in the pantry and make it work than run to the store for just one item. So today, finding that I only had beef broth in the pantry, that’s what I used. And it turned out great. So use whatever you have.
Once the squash is tender enough, add it to the soup pot and cover it almost to the top with broth. See this picture here? I wish that I had cut back just a little on the broth, because it would have made for a thicker soup in the end. It was still pretty delicious, but next time I’ll use a tad less.
Simmer this for about twenty minutes. Add your herbs and seasonings at this point. You can season it with whatever you like, but I strongly suggest that you do not cut out the garlic, sage and freshly grated nutmeg. Those three pretty much make the soup. Just season it to taste.
If you have an immersion blender, this is the perfect time to use it. I had one and loved it, but I loved it a little too much and burned the motor out. Fortunately, I have a VitaMix, which works great too. Using a ladle, blend this until creamy. You’ll probably have to do it in two or three batches. While you’re blending, add 8-12 oz cream cheese, if you like the flavor of cream cheese, or about 1 1/2 cups half-n-half if you prefer that. Or you could do a combination. I planned on using both today, but after putting in the cream cheese, I liked it just that way, so I left out the half-n-half.
This is really wonderful paired with crusty sourdough rolls, or herb bread. I made Herb Pull-Apart Bread, which I’ll probably post about tomorrow.
It’s also nice with a little dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. Mmm 🙂