Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Fall Comfort Food at its Finest

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I hosted a lovely Fall themed lunch a couple of weeks ago for family and friends.  I served this roasted butternut squash soup as my first course.  On the whole, I think butternut squash soup can tend to be on the bland side.  I believe one of the reasons for that is the cooking method of the squash.  Most butternut squash soup recipes boil the squash until tender.  Instead, I roasted the butternut squash in the oven and it made for an amazing soup with a depth of flavor that was anything but bland.

This is all the tastes of Fall in one warm comforting soup bowl.  My guests are still talking about this soup, and asking for the recipe.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Fall Comfort Food at its Finest
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Fall
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium sized carrots
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon whole nutmeg - grated on the microplane
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 pound butternut squash (1 large sheet pan full) cut into 1½ inch cubes
  • 8 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • Kosher salt
  • black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place squash on a large baking plan and drizzle with olive oil. Mix the olive oil evenly over the squash with your hands. Sprinkle generously with Kosher salt and black pepper.
  3. Roast the squash for approximately 30 minutes until soft, turning after 20 minutes.
  4. Add the olive oil to a soup pot and heat over medium heat.
  5. Sautee carrot, onion and celery with the cinnamon stick until softened, approximately 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the spices.
  7. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  8. Turn the heat down to simmer.
  9. Mash the squash in a bowl with a potato masher.
  10. Add the squash to the soup pot and simmer for 30 minutes.
  11. Use an immersion blender or blend in batches in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  12. Stir ½ cup of half and half into the soup before serving.
  13. Note - this soup stores beautifully in the refrigerator for days. I often make it the day before and refrigerate it overnight. Wait to stir in the half and half until you're ready to heat and serve the soup.

 

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Here was my table décor for the luncheon; simple but elegant and very festive for Fall.

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Roasted Butternut Squash

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I really love most of the winter squashes but by far my favorite is the butternut squash.  It’s mild taste is comforting and so delicious, I look forward to it every year!  My favorite way to prepare it roasting it in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper until soft.  It’s the perfect meal with a bowl of hot soup.

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Okay Fall, I’m finally beginning to embrace you and all of the beautiful seasonal foods you have to offer.  Stay tuned for my butternut squash soup, it’s a real treat!

Roasted Butternut Squash
 
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My most favorite winter squash is by far the butternut squash. It's mild flavor is comforting and so delicious. My preferred way to cook it is by roasting it until browned and soft.
Author:
Recipe type: Vegetarian, side dish
Cuisine: Fall comfort food
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash - peeled, cut in ½ lengthwise, seeds removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Lay the squash on a baking sheet lined with foil.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the squash (approximately 2 Tablespoons)
  4. Mix the olive oil over all sides of the squash pieces with your hands.
  5. Roast the squash for 20 minutes then move/flip it around with a spatula.
  6. Continue roasting approximately 5-10 more minutes until fork tender and slightly browned.

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Carrot Soup

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I came across a recipe for a chilled carrot soup but I am just not a fan of chilled soups, even in the summer.  I think you can still have a summer soup but have it be served hot.  This one has a nice bright flavor with the ginger and cilantro and it’s a beautiful color that compliments almost anything you choose to serve with it.

Carrot Soup
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup, main dish, side dish
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 pounds of carrots - peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 large or 2 small onions - chopped
  • 1 handful of cilantro (leaves and stems) - rough chopped
  • 1 jalapeno - ribs and seeds removed - diced
  • 2 Tablespoons ginger - grated (I use the microplane)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ cup greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add the olive oil to a soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion and jalapeno to the pot and sautee until the onions are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the ginger and the cumin and sautee until combined into the onion mixture, 1 minute.
  4. Add the carrots and the broth to the pan.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil and turn the heat down to cook at a strong simmer until the carrots are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes.
  6. Stir the cilantro into the soup.
  7. Use the immersion blender to blend the soup until it is a smooth consistency.
  8. Stir the yogurt or sour cream into the soup.
  9. Alternate method:
  10. Let the soup cool for 5 minutes.
  11. Transfer the soup in batches to the blender and puree until smooth.
  12. Transfer the soup back to the pot.
  13. Stir the yogurt or sour cream into the soup.
  14. Heat to desired temperature.
  15. Serve in bowls, garnishing with a dollop of yogurt/sour cream and cilantro.
  16. NOTE - Be careful when blending hot liquids. Fill the blender only ½ way and raise one corner of the lid to let the heat escape. Place a towel over the blender and pulse a few times to release the heat. Blend until smooth.

 

White Bean Soup… in the Slow Cooker

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Beans are protein-packed, antioxidant-rich little superfoods.  They are nearly fat free and are cholesterol free.  But, they also lead to a healthy heart.  They lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels instead of causing them to increase as some meat and animal proteins tend to do.

They’re versatile as a side dish and can be used in tasty vegetarian main dishes.  They can be added to other dishes to add a protein punch such as pasta, casseroles, salads and soups.

The soup I’ve made here is made completely in the slow-cooker.  I love beans but I’ll be honest, I have a hard time with soaking dry beans overnight so that I can cook with them the next day.  This recipe solves that problem as they go into the slow cooker dry and come out tender and delicious.  This soup can be made totally vegetarian or you can add turkey sausage if you’re looking for a non-vegetarian option.  The turkey sausage does give the soup a nice flavor as it cooks.  However, I’ve made it both ways and both are delicious.

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White Bean Soup... in the Slow Cooker
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup, Slow Cooker
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 4 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 medium onion - diced (I used a yellow onion)
  • 4 carrots - medium dice
  • 4 stalks of celery plus the leaves - diced medium
  • 1 pound of dry cannellini beans - rinsed and picked through to remove any debris or little stones
  • 2 Tablespoons all purpose vegetable seasoning
  • 2 Tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 7 cups of vegetable broth (vegetarian) or chicken broth
  • 4 turkey sausages - casings removed
Instructions
  1. Place the carrots, celery, onion and garlic into a large slow cooker.
  2. Add the olive oil and mix it through the veggies.
  3. Add the beans and spices.
  4. Add the broth and stir to combine all the ingredients.
  5. If using the turkey sausage, add the sausages on the top.
  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  7. Take out the turkey sausage (if using) and chop it up, stirring it through the soup.
  8. I have kept the soup as is and I've also used the immersion blender to blend some of it for a thicker consistency. You could also use a potato masher to mash some of the beans. Once the soup is cooked it tends to thicken up so I sometimes add a little more broth upon reheating it. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several days. Serve it with some crusty grilled bread and it's a complete meal.

Turkey Barley Soup

IMG_0249IMG_0247We are stuck in the middle of what they’re calling a “Polar Vortex” here in the northern Midwest.  I’m talking actual temperatures of -1 with wind-chill factors of -20 degrees.  I know, it’s tortuous to step outside these days.  Not to mention pumping gas, grocery shopping and even walking between buildings.  Hey, global warming proponents, where are ya now, eh?  Well, something that you don’t know about me is that I’m cold pretty much 100% of the time.  Honestly it’s a real problem.  And I don’t just mean in winter, summer too.  I really need 80 degrees or better to be comfortable.  I’m the girl in a sweater all year round (and long underwear and 2 pairs of socks, you get the picture).

So needles to say I love soup to warm me up and comfort me on a cold day.  A friend of mine brought this recipe to me.  After some tweaking and making it my own I’d like to share it with you.  May it warm you and your family as well.

Ingredients:

1 pound ground turkey

3 carrots – sliced

3 celery stalks – chopped

1 medium onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 envelope of low sodium mild taco seasoning – all natural

1 teaspoon chili powder

4 cups water

3 14 ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 teaspoons cumin

1 15 ounce can chicken broth

3/4 cup quick cooking barley

Directions:

Brown the ground turkey, drain if needed and set aside.  Most of the time I don’t even need to drain any fat off the turkey as it is very lean.  A little fat adds a lot of flavor to the soup.

In a soup pot, sautee the carrots, onion and celery in the butter in the olive oil until beginning to soften, about 8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.

Add the turkey, water, tomatoes, spices and chicken broth to the veggies.  Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer and cook the soup with the lid partially on for at least 30 minutes.  Add the barley and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes or until they are soft.

Note – This soup tends to be spicy so I always use mild taco seasoning.  I’ve tried a medium and it is just way to spicy for a soup.

 

 

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