Given the turn to cooler weather, I thought I'd share one of my favorite recipes for What I Ate Wednesday this week. This Roasted Butternut Squash Soup is filling and a great flavor base for all sorts of different spices and toppings. I usually go by sight and taste, so this is a rough approximation of what I make. Enjoy!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
4 lbs/2 medium butternut squash
2-4 cups vegetable broth or chicken stock
1-2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons ghee/butter/olive oil/coconut oil/etc.
Peel, halve, and cube the butternut squash. Add to a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of oil of your choice (I prefer ghee, but each oil has its pros/cons depending on the flavor you're going for). Roast at 400 degrees, tossing about halfway through, for 40-50 minutes. Your squash is done when a knife goes in cleanly and the edges have begun to caramelize.
Add squash to a stock pot and thin with the broth/stock. I use an immersion blender, but you could also attempt this with your standing blender at home - just be careful not to overfill and make sure your lid is secure! I like a thicker soup, almost the thickness of a baby food puree, so I tend to add the broth/stock sparingly. You have to use your eyes at this point.
Warm the puree through on the stove, and season with salt, pepper, and ginger to taste. With the ginger, I find the best for this soup are those squeeze tubes of herbs you find in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If that isn't available, fresh is better than dried, but powdered will still add a good flavor. I like mine very gingery - about 1 tablespoon, but I would start out with a teaspoon to taste and adjust for personal preferences.
Once warmed through, add cream (again, paying attention to thickness and texture). Season if necessary, and garnish with your favorite toppings. Pictured above is crumbled bacon and chives.
Vegan/Vegetarian: Use vegetable broth and olive or coconut oil.
Paleo/Whole30: Use ghee or coconut oil, and replace the half and half with coconut milk.
- Swap half and half for coconut milk, and add turmeric and curry to season the soup. Garnish with curry roasted chickpeas for an Indian twist.
- Add some sauteed onions and apples to the puree, add some sage to season the soup, and top with roasted butternut squash seeds.
- Saute leeks, shallots, and garlic for extra flavor for the soup, and top with some homemade sourdough croutons (this pairs really well with Chardonnay).
- Add some nutmeg to season the soup, and top with some pan-toasted walnuts.
- Spice with cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne pepper, and top with scallions and cilantro for a more Southwestern feel.
- Add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, and top with honey-roasted butternut squash seeds or pralines for a sweeter take.