This winter break, I started cooking soup. I had a lot of time on my hands and wanted to learn a new set of techniques and recipes that would serve me well back at school. Soup is simple, comforting, inexpensive, and always tastes better the next day. It’s perfect for simple meals on snowy nights like these. Its almost magical—you throw a bunch of ordinary ingredients into a pot and something beautiful and delicious comes out.
I adapted this recipe from a similar one in the Vegetarian Epicure, which takes roasted tomatillos.
I’ve cooked it with and without tomatoes and have added black beans, parmesan, and spinach. The spices can be changed or omitted entirely if you’d like. If you don’t have a blender of food processor you could mash it by hand or just serve it as is. Peeling a butternut squash can be pretty exhausting, so I usually remove the thick layer of skin with a paring knife then use a vegetable peeler to take of the rest; there really shouldn’t be any whitish looking rind left. If you’re tired of butternut squash you could try this recipe for sweet potato soup, although I’d cut down the amount of cinnamon and ginger.
Both of these soups really do taste better after a day in the fridge, although they may need thinning out. Enjoy!
2 medium-sized butternut squashes or 1 large one (about 3 lbs) peeled, seeds and fibers removed and chopped into 2-inch pieces (about 8 cups)
5 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 – 1 cup cream or whole milk (optional)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 medium-sized white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
5 whole peeled tomatoes (canned)
½ cup tomato liquid from can
½ cup water
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1-2 tablespoons tomato sauce (optional)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
½ teaspoon curry powder (or to taste)
salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spread pieces of squash evenly onto two baking sheets; toss the pieces of squash with about one and a half tablespoons of olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper per sheet. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until browned and tender, turning pieces halfway through to prevent burning. While the squash is roasting, halve the tomatoes and shake off excess liquid. Toss with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper in a small baking sheet. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, turning the pieces halfway through.
3. Once the squash and tomatoes are done roasting, put the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 7 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic, cinnamon, and curry powder and cook for another minute. Add squash, tomatoes, stock, tomato liquid, and water, stirring to prevent sticking. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes or so. Let soup cool, then carefully transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, working in batches, and return to Dutch oven. OR, if you have an immersion blender, use it to carefully blend the cooled soup until smooth. Warm soup, add butter, cream, and tomato sauce (if using), and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve hot or refrigerate and reheat gently, adding water or stock as necessary.*
*Some people may want to add some heat–chipotle or any kind of hot peppers are great.