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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

This particular dish is one I will request on my deathbed. It's definitely one of my holiday must-haves. My mother's butternut soup will always be the best, but I can try.

Yield: 6-10 servings (this really depends on how thin you've made the soup/ whether you're serving it as an appetizer or as the main meal.)


  • 2 med butternut squash
  • 2 leeks
  • 1 apple (optional)
  • 1- 2 qt chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract (please never use imitation... it just sucks)
  • S & P to taste
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (if your a nutmeg-monkey like me, then it's more like 1 Tbs)
  • 1/2 Tbs ground ginger
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 3-4 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut squash lengthwise. Remove seeds. (I set some of the seeds aside to roast for a garnish, but it isn't necessary.) Place squash on a sheet pan, rub with small amount of oil, salt and pepper. Bake for about 45 min.

While the squash is in the oven, slice leeks up to the light-green parts. Place the cut leeks in a large bowl filled with cool water. Leeks are grown in very sandy soil, and this is the best way to ensure your soup wont be gritty. After the leeks have soaked for about 5 min, skim them off the top. The sand will have fallen to the bottom, allowing for easy extraction. Saute the leeks in the butter and remaining olive oil until translucent. In the past, I've sauteed the apple along with the leeks if I want a slightly sweeter soup. The apple is an optional ingredient, however, and can be left out if desired. I didn't use it this time, but have in the past. It adds a nice background flavor. Add the spices to the sauteed mixture.

Add the vanilla to the stock and heat in a separate pot on stove. It doesn't need to come to a boil, it just helps to incorporate all the ingredients when the stock is warm. .

After the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out large chunks directly into the blender. Add a little of the leeks, and enough stock to begin the blending. (You can always add more stock at the end if you want your soup thinner, but remember... it's kinda impossible to take it out once it's been blended.)

Remember when blending hot liquids: remove plunger from lid and use a towel to cover hole. You don't want the pressure to build up because of the heat.

Blend the soup continuously for longer than you'd expect (about 1 min) for a really smooth finish. Pour soup into a pot for warming through. Repeat this process about 2-3 more times. (You'll need to work in batches if you don't want soup all over you and your kitchen.)

If you like your soup extra smooth, feel free to run it through a sieve. I just don't like the extra step... there's already enough to clean. Taste, and re-salt and pepper if needed.

When all has been blended smooth and reheated, serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Dig in, and enjoy the taste of fall!

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