Sunday, November 4, 2012

Butternut Squash soup - Fall back to cold weather recipes

Most of us in the US of A and Europe turned our clocks an hour back last night and went to the standard time until next Spring. This means brighter mornings when you get up and darker evenings before (much before) you get back home from work. It takes a few days to adjust to the new clock and I don't like to see the sky become dark by 4.30 in the evening.

Shorter days and the nip in the air remind me to also start falling back to the winter favorites, as I think of winter favorites the first thing that gets voted hands down is a hot soup with some hearty bread. Easy to put together and quick to make soups are relished at our home. Butternut squash soup is a classic made with the abundantly available seasonal gourd.

Autumn or Fall also floods the market with a variety of orange hued winter squashes and pumpkins. I used to reverently walk through the aisles with pumpkins of all sizes and shapes when I first moved here. The pumpkins we see in India are much smaller and usually of the same type, the sheer variety of the vegetable found here was breath taking for a new immigrant like me. I have grown used to it in all these years but still love the beautiful color it adds to everything.

Butternut squash is a type of pumpkin - slightly sweet, cooks very quickly. It has a hard outer shell which allows the vegetable to keep well during the winter months and the inside stays as juicy and sweet as freshly picked. These squashes are a nutritional power house with significantly less calories and overflowing with vitamins and minerals. Butternut squash is very well suited for soups, I generally add a few spices as the vegetable itself is mild in taste and flavor. I prefer thicker, pureed soups to the clearer or chunky soups.

Roasted butternut squash is extremely flavorful and makes for a good, low calorie snack. Peel and dice the squash into small cubes, toss in olive oil flavored with salt and dried herbs, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, bake until fork tender (25-30 minutes) at 350F. You can use the baked squash in the soup for extra flavor.
What do you need to make butternut squash soup? 
Serves 4 people
4 cups of diced butternut squash
1 small onion - chopped
2 medium sized carrots - chopped
1 medium sized green apple - peeled, cored and diced or 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 Tsp dried Thyme
1X1 inch piece of peeled ginger
1/4 Tsp cumin
1 Tsp salt (adjust to taste)
2 cups water
1 Tblsp oil/butter
How do you make butternut squash soup? 
  • Heat oil/butter in a sauce pan. Add cumin and let sizzle. Add ginger and saute for a minute.
  • Add the chopped onion, carrots and fry for a couple of minutes. 
  • Add the butternut squash pieces and apple pieces (if using), dry thyme and 2 cups of water. 
  • Let cook on medium heat for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables become soft. 
  • Cool the vegetables and puree it in the blender.
  • Pour it back into the sauce pan, add salt and apple sauce if using, let it come to a gentle boil. 
  • Serve hot soup topped with thin slices of squash strips and a side of hearty bread. 
Notes: 
  • See above to oven bake butternut squash, you can use roasted squash in the soup for enhanced flavor. 
  • I used ready made, unsweetened green apple sauce and added it to the soup after the vegetables are pureed. 
  • The tart apple balances the flavors, if you cannot get hold of green apple add 1/4 Tsp of amchoor powder. 
  • I use oil instead of butter as there is no compromise in the taste. 
  • Play around with the herbs used, I have tried Oragano, Mint for different flavors.

6 comments:

Tamilarasi Sasikumar said...

Comfortable soup for a cold day...

NamsVeni Pothas said...

hot soup with crispy bread wow! reall best dinner in the winter . very tasty . only soup also stomach full.

Vijayalakshmi Dharmaraj said...

interesting one...
Today's Recipe - Baked Idli without Idli Pan
VIRUNTHU UNNA VAANGA

Premalatha Aravindhan said...

wow yummy soup,healthy recipe too ...

Priya said...

Here is raining since yesterday, even i had a soup for my dinner, eventhough i dont mind having again a bowl of this delicious soup.

Chitra said...

First time here.. U have a nice blog with so many new recipes to me. :) even this recipe is new to me..