Butternut Squash Soup
Continuing with the series on "What's this in my CSA box", today we're tackling an easy item, butternut squash. Butternut squash has become more common in grocery stores and restaurants which makes it something you've probably tried before. It's sweet and nutty flavor is showing up in all kinds of dishes.
Butternut squash is a winter squash is similar in flavor and texture as a pumpkin. It's great for adding fiber to your diet and is a good source for vitamin c and potassium. It's smooth texture when roasted makes it pretty easy to incorporate into all kinds of dishes.
In the fall/winter, it's pretty easy to find and often an item in farmers markets and CSAs. While you can get pretty creative in using this squash in a variety of dishes, a great place to start is to have a really wonderful butternut squash soup recipe in your repertoire.
I've tinkered around with a variety of recipes, and this one is my "go to". It's an easy recipe that highlights the flavor of the squash with sweet apples yet kicks up the flavor with a fall spice mixture.
Peeling butternut squash can be challenging but shouldn't shy you away from cooking with one. Remember these few tips:
cut the bottom off the squash so you have a flat surface to sit the squash on
after cutting the squash at the base of the neck, peel the top part of the squash with a vegetable peeler. The skin can be difficult to get through with the peeler, but it ensures you won't slip and cut yourself with a knife!
cut the bottom part in half to make it easier to scoop out the seeds
wear latex gloves to keep your hands from turning orange
I hope you enjoy this recipe. While it's one to use with the butternut squash in your CSA share, it's also a great recipe to have on hand for holiday dinners!
Helpful Recipe Note: A 3lb butternut squash yields about 4 cups of cubed squash.
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
2 tbsp unsalted butter 1 ½ cups leeks, sliced white parts only 1 tbsp garlic, minced 6 cups butternut squash, peeled and roughly diced 3 cups apples, peeled and roughly diced 6 ½ cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you prefer a vegetarian soup) sea salt to taste 2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub (see below)
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, add the leeks and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly to release its fragrance.
Add the squash and apples, raise the heat to high, and cook, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Toasted Spice Rub and cook briefly to toast it.
Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, partially cover, and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 40 minutes.
Transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to serving temperature, and season with salt.
Divide the soup among warmed bowls and garnish each portion with some of the walnuts, if using. Serve immediately.
Toasted Spice Rub
¼ cup fennel seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
¼ cup chili power
2 tbsp kosher salt
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
In a small heavy pan over medium heat, combine the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns.
When the fennel turns light brown, add the red pepper flakes, and toss quickly over the heat. Turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool.
Put in a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground.