Butternut Squash Soup
It’s been fall for one week, which means one thing and one thing only: it’s squash time. Squash is really the unsung hero of the season, often overlooked for the apple pies and pumpkin spice lattes of the world. But I love squash because it captures the season in a way that no other food can. As light summer evenings give way to the brooding nights of fall, so do summer squash and zucchini make way for the heft and meatiness of autumn’s produce.
I also love squash because it opened up the world of savory cooking to me. A few years back I was a newlywed with a degree in Pastry Arts, yet possessed no discernible savory cooking skills. Couple that imbalance with an intense fear of cooking meat, and I was lost on what to prepare for a husband who refused to be sustained on chocolate soufflés. Convinced that cooking any kind of animal protein would result in foodborne catastrophe, I turned to the fall’s hearty and bountiful selection of squash - butternut, acorn and spaghetti, are my favorite. Hefty yet un-threatening, the most terrifying part about the season’s squash varietals is cutting them open - these suckers are thick and heavy. The sense of danger that comes with cutting them open is totally worth it though. Not only is the squash itself delicious and versatile, but varietals like butternut and acorn come filled with pumpkin-esque seeds, perfect for roasting into an appetizer or snack for tomorrow’s lunch. This discovery, and being able to use the squash from stem to rump, ignited in me a sense of eco-conscious, frugal empowerment. I established a cyclical yet creative menu based on squash. The result was a buoyed sense of culinary, and wifely, prowess. Thank you, squash.
In honor of fall’s commencement and hearty squashes officially being in season, here is the very first squash recipe that stole my heart. I actually lost the original recipe, but it’ so simple and elastic that I just make it up as I go along. For a more stew-like texture, cut back on the broth. Add more if using a chunk of sourdough as a spoon is your style. Top with a dollop of plain yogurt if you want a little boost of creaminess, and fried sage if you’re feeling extra fancy.
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
1. In a large pot, heat about 2 Tbsp of oil.
2. Dice an onion, sautée in the oil.
3. While the onion is getting sauteed, peel and cut the butternut squash, sweet potatoes and apple. Toss into the pot with the sauteed onions.
4. Cover the pot and let it all cook for about 10-15 minutes.
5. Pour in the vegetable broth and desired herbs. Bring to a boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes
7. When the buternut squash and sweet potato chunks are soft, turn off the heat. Using either stick blender or a blender (I highly recommend a Blendtec), purée until smooth and creamy.
8. Optional: Fried Sage (garnish): Heat about 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan. When the oil is hot, toss in the fresh sage. Keep an eye on the leaves - they will burn quickly if you don't pay attention. They should be ready to roll in about 10 seconds. Remove from the oil, place on a paper toil and sprinkle with salt.
9. Ladle soup into a bowl. Add a dollop of plain yogurt and garnish with the fried sage leaf.