Saturday, December 12, 2009

Must be Winter, I Smell Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup is a fall staple for me. It's so warm and inviting - like a warm hug on a cold day* ... from a mom that loves you enough to make soup from scratch rather than just opening a can and adding equal parts milk and water.

I had a recipe at one point, but now I just wing it. This is how it went down today.

Butternut Squash Soup

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 white onion, diced
1 apple ( I prefer organic Breaburn for those of you keeping track) peeled, cored and diced
I  carrot, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Fresh grated ginger
Fresh grated nutmeg
Ground cloves
3/4 to 1 litre vegetable stock
1 small can of cocount milk or coconut cream powder
Butter or olive oil
Fresh parsley and/or chives for garnish

In a large pot, sautee onion and garlic in a bit of butter or olive oil. Add squash, carrot and apple and cook until soft.
Grate in a thumb sized chunk of ginger.
Add a touch of  fresh grated nutmeg, a dash each of of cinnamon and ground cloves, and salt and pepper. Go easy, you can amp this up later.
Add about 3/4 to one litre of vegetable stock. Simmer about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat. In a blender, blend (in several batches) until smooth.

Back in my dairy days this is the point where I'd add it some milk or cream to smooth it out a bit. Now that dairy and I are frenemies I use coconut milk. Sadly I only had a large can, which would have been way too much, so I resorted to the powdered version instead. It's fine in a pinch, but I would recommend adding one of the little kiddie cans of coconut milk. Or real milk or cream if you are so inclined. I've also used soft tofu (be careful not to get the flavoured dessert variety) for many soups, it works quite well though tends to require a little water to be added to thin it out.

Once your soup is all blendy smooth return to the pot and simmer a bit longer, tasting and adjusting the flavour as necessary. I invariably end up adding more ginger and nutmeg, because that's how I roll.

If you wanted to be all impressive you could swirl in a dab of cream, coconut milk or sour cream when you serve it, or make a leafy shape or heart if you have mad barista skills (which I don't). A sprinking of chopped fresh parsley or chives are a nice touch too.

* Dear Campbell's Soup, please don't sue me.

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