I barely made it but here I am! I didn’t think I would be able to manage an entry for this month’s Smackdown, but I remembered a recipe that I got a while back for the best butternut squash soup I ever ate, and figured I had to go with that. The recipe comes from a former blogger who kept a lovely blog called “Farmer Femme”. Sadly, she is not blogging at the moment, but I manage to keep up with some of her culinary escapades on FB and I will always be grateful for this recipe. It is so simple, but such a treat. So, without further ado, the basic recipe:
Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash
6 cups turkey or chicken broth
olive oil for sauteeing
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp salt
1 can coconut milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put 1 inch water in 9 x 13 baking pan. Cut squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Place squash face down into the baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Set aside to cool. I let mine rest in the oven for a while.
Sautee the onion and garlic in a Dutch oven until beginning to caramelize. Add the seasonings and let “bloom”. Scoop out the cooled, cooked squash and add to the Dutch oven and add the stock and mix well. Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer and allow to cook down until thickened to your preference. Puree with immersion blender or in a regular blender in batches until smooth. Add coconut milk and check seasoning. Return to oven to heat through, at least another 30 minutes.
The humble beginning:
I let the squash bake as above today while I was working and left it in the oven until I was ready to cook. This is the second time I’ve made this soup. The first time I followed the recipe exactly, but this time I had bought some new spices from my favorite place and I decided I would use some ras al hanout, a middle eastern/Arab spice that is a mixture of coriander, allspice, fennel, black pepper, cinnamon, anise seed, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and turmeric. Quite a heady mix. And I added the cayenne. In total, I used the same amount of spice as listed above.
While the onions and garlic were sauteeing, I scooped out the perfectly baked squash:
Then the spices went in, along with the squash and the stock:
It’s still looking a little chunky there. Sadly, I don’t have an immersion blender, which would make this quite easy, so I ladled it in batches and blended it, then returned it to the pot and added the secret ingredient–the coconut milk:
This absolutely makes the dish. It adds the subtle flavor of coconut which goes superbly with the other ingredients and it gives a velvety texture that makes it a delight on the tongue. Seriously, I could just put a straw in the pot and be happy. To serve, I mixed a little bit of Greek yogurt with a tiny bit of buttermilk and added a sliver of red pepper from the garden. Perfect!
And there you have it…a warm, yummy soup to keep your tummy toasty on a chilly day. Substitute veggie stock for the chicken broth and you’ve also got a great vegan recipe too.