butternut squash soup

A “cold front” this weekend brought our temperatures from the 100-degree range down to the mid-90s. Although the term generally connotes jackets, mugs of hot coffee, and crisp breezes, I’ll take what I can get. It’s fall here, even if the Austin weather refuses to acknowledge it.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been easing into fall, waiting for it to be cool enough to warrant the mood I’ve been in. I got a taste of fall when I spent a weekend in San Francisco; their warm, balmy 74 is my blanket-and-jacket weather. (Do you know they don’t even need air conditioning there?) When I got back, I was in full-on autumn mode. I put cinnamon sticks and cloves in water on the stove, on a low simmer, to make my apartment smell festive. The down comforter is back on the bed, justified by the fan that blows on me all night. I made lasagna for some friends, a food that’s hardly appropriate for Texas summer. I even wore a completely superfluous cardigan to work one day.

Although I suspect this soup would be best enjoyed in slightly cooler climes, my optimism that this summer weather will soon pass and my desire for below-80 temperatures prompted me to make this simple, basic, savory soup a few weeks too soon. It tasted wonderful, but I can’t wait to try it when the weather matches the hot, silky richness.

Butternut Squash Soup
Adapted from Food Network
Note: I did not strain the soup before I served it, but I think I should have, as it had a grittier texture than I prefer. An easy way to do this would be to hold your strainer over the bowl and ladle the soup into the bowl through the strainer as you serve it. To make this dish vegetarian, use vegetable stock.

 You will need:
1 medium butternut squash, diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tbsp. butter
Chicken stock
Cinnamon, sage, and nutmeg, to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Toss squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and spread in one layer on roasting pan. Roast 30 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.

Melt butter in pot on medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender and transparent. Add squash and cover with chicken broth. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup directly in the pot until smooth, 2-3 minutes. Add more chicken stock to achieve desired consistency. Heat soup thoroughly and add spices to taste. Strain if desired.

Serve immediately, garnished with crème fraiche, fried sage leaves, or other desired garnish.

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