We never had squash on Thanksgiving, and we didn’t have turkey either, except for those few glorious years spent in New York for Thanksgiving where the famous parade was right out the window of our hotel rooms and the dinner was eaten in a restaurant. Traditional Thanksgiving dinners are quite new to me, but I really do love them!
What I love even more is squash. All varieties of squash cooked in various ways. Spaghetti squash instead of pasta, acorn squash to make a pasta dish creamier, simple baked squash with a touch of salt and honey, all of them. I was surprised to find a severe hole in the department of squash soup, however. I couldn’t rely on my mom’s way of making squash soup because, well, she never made it! In fact, the only time I ever saw her touching anything in the squash family was to help carve pumpkins for Halloween.
A few recipe book and google searches later, I found one squash soup recipe that looked interesting to me, but not quite right. I tweaked the recipe a bit, and found myself enjoying the creamiest bowl of squash soup ever. The flavors are gentle in this dish, leaving you wondering what was combined to put it together, but the taste of butternut squash is prevalent. I tried making a similar soup without roasting the squash first, but it isn’t the same. The extra step is worth the effort! This soup, rather than being velvety, is rustic.
It is simply Thanksgiving in a bowl. Enjoy!
Butternut Squash Soup
*Adapted from Bride & Groom Cookbook, page 77
Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course
1 3 lb butternut squash
kosher salt & black pepper
3 tbs olive oil
6 fresh sage leaves
8 cloves of garlic (keep the peel on)
2 large yellow onions, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1. Set the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds and pulp (I use a spoon to do this). Brush the cut side with olive oil and place face down in a baking sheet. Tuck 4 cloves of garlic and 3 fresh sage leaves under each cavity so the garlic can roast along with the squash. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes.
2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a soup pot over medium low heat. Add the onions and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring every so often. You want the onions to become translucent, not to turn brown at all. Take the squash out of the oven, squeeze the garlic out of its peel, and add to the onions. Reserve the sage for later.
3. When cool enough to handle (about 5 minutes for me), peel the squash and chop into 1 inch pieces. Add the squash and vegetable stock to the soup pot, and bring the heat up to medium high.
4. Once the soup begins to boil bring it down to a simmer and whisk until all the ingredients come together. The soup should still be chunky but will look more homogenous. Add the cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. Using a hand blender, take the pot off the heat and blend the soup, being careful not to scratch the pot. Once blended well the soup is done.
6. Toast the walnuts in a dry pan over medium heat until fragrant (just a few minutes). Ladle some soup into each bowl and top with a sprinkling of nuts. Enjoy!
We enjoyed this a few different ways: with a few nuts on top, with the original recipe’s suggestion of a dash of light cream (omit the cream for the vegans), and just the way it is.
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