Do you live in a cold climate? If so, you probably eat plenty of warm bowls of soup during the cold, snowy months of the winter. A favorite at my house, which I think your house will also enjoy, is made with butternut squash harvested during the previous fall.
Butternut Squash Soup
The best squash to make dishes are those that have a chance to become very ripe. Having a cold storage to keep your fall squash harvest helps them stay fresh and ready when you are. Our family keeps them in the evaporator room of the sugarhouse, up off the floor. The temperature is cooler than you would keep your home and I can easily grab one on the way home from work. Anytime I turn on my oven to bake something, I add squash, garlic, potatoe, yams, anything that fills the oven and I can enjoy in a dish over the next couple of days.
Squash is a healthy vegetable for the family to enjoy, and it has so many uses for a variety of dishes. Even if you don’t have need for squash with the evening meal, if the oven is going to be on, get some extra use from that heat and get one cooked saving time for tomorrow’s dinner. Squash reheats easily and it has a million uses including my Easy Maple Pumpkin Bread Recipe. The one that I told you I always use squash and not pumpkin.
Prepare your Squash
Don’t have a butternut squash on hand? No worries, any winter squash will do. Cut it in half, give it a quick brush of olive oil, if you like. Use parchment paper on a baking dish and lay the squash meat side down. The ideal temperature to roast is 400 degrees. When a fork pierces through easily, take it out to cool. After it cools enough to handle, use a large spoon and scoop out the meat. If you are new to roasting winter squash, here’s a good video.
The right maple syrup for the job
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times. If you are looking for a bold maple flavor in your baking then by all means use the Very Dark Strong Taste/Baking maple syrup.
This grade covers a lot of maple flavor and color. The profile of this grade is very rich in maple flavor and lends itself very well to baking and cooking. Especially if you want to really taste that maple flavor. This is the grade that was formerly known as "Grade B" maple syrup.
Now that you have prepared your squash you are ready to put together an easy soup that would be a starter course at your favorite five-star restaurant.
I hope you enjoy this recipe that provides a tasty comfort food on a cold winter day. What I really like about this recipe is the simplicity of preparation, but also the simplicity of the ingredients and the flavor of the squash, enhanced by the maple syrup, comes through boldly.
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
3 Tablespoons Butter
1 small onion chopped
1 medium potato chopped small
4 cups of mashed butternut squash (see above)
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 teaspoon thyme
3 cups chicken (or vegetable) broth
1-2 cups of milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnishes – your choice of sour cream, Greek yogurt, cilantro, chives, almonds or some other choice that you prefer.
- Melt the butter in a kettle and sauté the onion, thyme and potato slowly.
- Add mashed butternut squash and maple syrup and heat through.
- Add the chicken stock and simmer for ten minutes.
- At this point you’ll want to use a blender to puree the base. I use an immersion blender, nicknamed a "boat motor" by Emeril Lagasse.
- Add the milk to get the consistency that you like. You can also add stock in place of milk. If calories don't bother you, then by all means use heavy whipping cream for more mouth appeal.
- Salt and pepper to taste.
- Garnish with your favorite. My favorite is a dollop of Greek yogurt and chopped cilantro or chives.
Get creative, enjoy, and be sure to let us know how you added your twist to this delicious soup.