Butternut Squash Soup


Original recipe can be found here- http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/claire-robinson/butternut-squash-soup-recipe-1922514

Ingredients-

1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds)

1 teaspoon olive oil (plus a tiny bit for roasting)

1 shallot, finely chopped

4 cups low sodium broth (use vegetable to make it vegan, though chicken broth works if that is not a priority, or if that is what is on hand)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

Equipment-  

Large cookie sheet

Dutch oven or large saucepan

Stick blender or regular blender

Preheat oven to 375

Some years ago, I decided that our family needed to start New Years on a healthy note, after over a month of being crazed sugar fiends, including the New Years Eve debauchery heavy on dishes like Buffalo Chicken Wing dip, cheese dip and homemade pretzels, corn and potato cheddar soup, and the remnants of everyone’s holiday cookies and fudge .  I had come across Claire Robinson’s excellent “Five Ingredient or Less Butternut Squash soup” a few months before, while watching Food Network with my then grade school-aged daughter (she is in High School now, don’t ask me what time mage made that happen) on a Saturday morning, and decided it was the perfect way to get back on track.  And, it is dead easy, literally five ingredients (less salt and pepper, those never count), though, because it is me, I made some adjustments and have continued to do so over time.   

This year was no different.  It had been a lovely New Years Day, filled with traditions.  Got up late (for me, as most people find 7:30 on New Years to be dreadfully early) and had a healthy, get back into the swing of it  breakfast of a veggie and egg white omelette with emerald sauce (emerald sauce will be featured on a blog, don’t worry, it is a staple around here, especially on nights that involve a podcast and a D&D game). Got ready and went out with my bestie Vikki to do some running around- she needed to sign up for a sewing class at Joann’s and I had to get some cord for the dice pouch for my special new Lovecraftian dice – though, funny enough, when I asked the lady at the cut counter for two yards of cord, she asked who I was going to strangle.  Did I look like a rogue, or was my femme fatale deep red lip and well-cut leather jacket a giveaway?  After our errands, we met my mum for lunch at Bario Queen (someday, I will go back for margaritas and their famous guacamole) and then made our way to the movies to see The Greatest Showman.  Ten years ago, we started seeing movies on New Years day- preferably musicals- it all started with Sweeny Todd and we have found no reason to not continue the trend.  Sometimes it is just my mum and me, other years VIkki and/or my teenager come with, and when Les Miserables came out, we were even joined by our friends Ben and Sarah (my poor mum, who had never seen the play, sat between Ben and me- and we were, of course, singing along and balling like idiots).  We loved The Greatest Showman, by the way- the aesthetic of Moulin Rouge, the anachronistic use of original, modern sounding music like Spring Awakenings, inspired acting, and way more heart than LaLaLand.  Oh, and the costumes and use of colour symbolism!  But, I digress.  After the movies, my husband Kam and I went on a sunset hike, though the trail was ten times busier than it normally is during my preferred sunrise hikes.  As we got off the mountain, the first full moon of 2018, the Wolf Moon, was rising- majestically and breathtakingly, especially as we caught it shining down on the large LDS temple that is a half a mile from the trail entrance.  We returned home, tired from the hike, cold since once the sun sets even for a comparatively warm Phoenix winter night, the temperature starts dropping quickly, and being a native, I have very thin blood.

When we walked through the door, we were greeted to the smell of fresh cookies- the kiddo and her best friend had baked something called “snow-covered mountains (spiced cookie, with a kiss inside, topped with a simple frosting).  Once the mess was cleaned, it was time to start the meal, and I knew I wanted to make the soup extra warming.  Now the recipe!  

The first step is to take a butternut squash- the recipe calls for about a three pound one, but the one I had found yesterday was much smaller, about two pounds- and cut it in half, removing the seeds.  Drizzle it with a tiny bit of olive oil and place the halves, face down, on a cookie sheet and put that in a 375 oven.  I let mine roast for 40 minutes, larger ones will take at least an hour.  Once that is done, grab a dutch oven or large saucepan and drizzle a scant teaspoon of olive oil in it.  In the pan, place one finely sliced shallot and grate an inch long, a skinned piece of ginger root in it.  Once those are fragrant, sprinkle some good cinnamon (at least a teaspoon, maybe two if you want a kick) and let that warm.  The kitchen will smell amazing.  Then, add the flesh of your cooked squash and four cups of vegetable broth.  You can totally use chicken broth, but I make this dish vegan since it is a perfect opportunity to be extra healthy, and I never know what friends may show up for dinner at any given time, so having a veg or vegan recipe around is a good thing.  Add salt and pepper to taste and let it simmer, for at least ten minutes. One all the flavours have combined (and, in theory, you have let it rest for 5 minutes), take a stick blender (or put it in a regular blender) and mix until smooth.  WIth a smaller squash, it will be rather thin, or if you have a larger squash, it will be rather like a heavy chowder, but still good.  

I served tonight’s soup with crusty sourdough and, since a woman cannot live on bread and soup alone, some herbed brie cheese that I had on hand for random holiday gatherings, since I tend to stock up on good cheese (and wine).  The result was a lovely, warming soup that was less than 100 calories per cup, with a tiny bit of leftover December indulgence with the cheese. 

 

CyberWaif

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