No.8: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Bad thing is that I caught a cold that’s been going around. Good thing is that I knew what I wanted. The challenge was… not making it ordinary. I wanted something different. A butternut squash soup.
At one point of my life, I was so into Trader Joe’s butternut squash soup. I lived alone back then, and it helped me eating healthier. I also tried to get my husband into it shortly after we decided to live together. I loved it while he was a bit apprehensive. But why buy it when I can make it? I needed to make my own version.
I didn’t do much research prior to cooking as I only had an idea of making an onion soup a butternut squash soup. I figured it would bring up the taste of the soup. I came to know that a lot of recipes out there have the same method except this version contains a lot more onions. Some of them have nuts in it, which we can’t have. Some of them have apples, which I didn’t even think of. I also roasted the butternut squash instead of boiling. I had to prove that the caramelization that is created by roasting just adds to the rich flavor. I wanted the same flavor as the one I get from just simply roasting butternut squash.
Some recipes also called for a generous amount of heavy cream. I opted out on the cream in the soup itself. The soup also lasts longer (I think so anyways) if there’s no dairy in it to begin with, and a liquid of choice can be added later to fit the taste buds.
I had to experiment the way I puree the ingredients. I tried the food processor and the blender which my husband just got for X’mas. This battle, the blender won. I put enough roasted butternut squash as I can fit to get going in the blender, and added the rest of it as I pureed the ingredients. At that time, I added the fresh carrot juice for a taste. “No one will know…,” I said to myself. I use the Pulse mode instead of full power blending. I wanted to make sure that the texture was there.
At first, my husband was leery of the final product. He had some flashback from the past experience of tasting a similar orange soup that had this kind of texture. It took me some gentle convincing and bribed with adding bacons and cheese as garnishes. The experiment was successful; 2 meals and a leftover later. I also was told that I can make this any time. Score.
Picture above is shown with the cheese mix as a garnish, but if you're not into the cheese, you can use bacon bits, fresh parsley, or even croutons. We paired it with Suzie's Whole Grain Thin Cakes (Puffed Brown Rice Crackers) .
- 1 (2lbs or so) Butternut Squash, peeled, halved, seeded and cut in 1-11/2" chunk
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + 1 tablespoon for roasting squash
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)
- 1 large yellow onion (or 2 medium yellow onion), sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 32oz Chicken Stock/Broth (I've used my own chicken stock) and more if the soup is too thick
- 2-3 medium size carrots, juiced (or use 1/2-2/3 cups of over-the-counter carrot juice)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- Sea Salt & White Pepper to taste
- 1tablespoon Cheese Blend for garnish (I use Parmesan Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, and Asiago cheeses for mix) - Optional
Preheat the oven at 400F.
Peel, seed, halve, and cut the butternut squash into 1 to 1 1/2 inch chunk. Put them into the bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and pinch of sea salt. Toss until coated. Spread them on a cooking sheet. Make sure the chunks are not overlapping. Place the sheet into the preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 and a half hours until cooked and browned. Once roasted, set aside and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, slice onions thin. Heat the olive oil, unsalted butter (optional), and garlic in the 5qt sauce pan or dutch oven with high heat. Add onions and reduce the heat to medium to medium-low. Saute until they are brown; about 45 minutes. Caramelized onions should be pasty. (see picture above) Add the stock/broth to the onion and stir. Bring to boil and turn off the heat. Cool slightly.
Combine the onion soup mixture, carrot juice, and roasted butternut squash chunks in the blender. Puree soup in batches if necessary, until smooth. Return the mixture to the sauce pan/dutch oven and stir well on low heat. Add more broth/stock until you reach the consistency.
Top each serving with a garnish of your choice. Serve warm.
If the soup is thick the next day, add some liquid, such as broth/stock or milk, to loosen and stir well before & while heating.