Butternut squash checks lots of boxes. It screams fall. It’s wildly versatile. It’s cheap. It’s a hardy vegetarian staple that can also be paired with all sorts of proteins. You can puree it and add it to muffin or cake batter, or you can cut it into chunks and roast it with olive oil and fresh rosemary. And of course, it’s just right as the star ingredient in a silky, sturdy autumn soup.
The one downside of working with butternut squash is that its thick skin makes it a pain to slice and dice. But, you can easily work around that with this trick. Take a whole butternut squash, pierce it with a sharp paring knife in several places, then microwave it for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove it from microwave, and when it’s cool enough to handle, trim the ends, slice off the skin and cut the squash down the center. Remove the seeds and cut the squash into chunks. From here, you’re only a few more steps away from a lip-smacking bowl of fall-friendly soup that can be dressed up or down. Best of all, it’s ready in about 30 minutes.
Butternut Squash Soup
¼ cup olive oil
1 large butternut squash, peeled, cut into chunks (use tip described above to make cutting easier)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1 quart, plus 2 cups, chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Croutons for garnish
Add olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the next 8 ingredients. Sauté until the onions, carrots and celery are soft. Add 2 cups of broth, lower the heat and cover. Simmer until the squash is tender. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture in the Dutch oven until smooth, adding the remaining chicken broth until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and garnish with croutons.
Note: Watch for the November issue of 225, where we’ll be featuring a story on what wines to pair with this butternut squash recipe. Check it out in our Grape Crush column.
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.