Over the past few years, Thanksgiving has been held at our house. My in-laws drove down from Michigan and, since my husband worked during the day, I spent all day in the kitchen preparing every dish from scratch. My husband returned home late from work and upon his arrival, my father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, husband and I would all gather around our table, say our thanks and dig into dish after delicious dish.
Last Thanksgiving was no exception. However, this time, my in-laws brought with them butternut squash from the farm. My mother-in-law plopped this huge vegetable on the counter and there it sat…staring at me during the days leading up to Thanksgiving. I had never worked with this vegetable in the past and I had absolutely no idea what to do with it. I eventually came up with the idea of roasting it and than caramelizing it with a little cinnamon and sugar. Now that I had the recipe out of the way, it was time to cut into this huge beast of a vegetable. That’s when I hit a brick wall. The vegetable was so dense and thick I thought it was going to take an army to pry this bad boy open.
I quickly recruited my husband and bother-in-law into the kitchen for assistance (and out of fear that I was going to do some major harm with the knife). After a while, we finally halved it and I began preparing the side dish. To my surprise, it turned out great and I immediately decided that I had a love-hate relationship with butternut squash.
Now that fall is in full force, this vegetable has returned to me in the form of a delicious, comforting and wonderful soup. A soup that, until preparing it most recently, I have never had the opportunity to enjoy. A friend of mine fell in love with this soup after first bite and shared the recipe with me. I was intrigued to say the least and I knew that I had to give this recipe a try…and boy oh boy am I happy that I did.
This soup is filled with so many flavors of the fall season…
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 2-lb butternut squash, halved
- 1 12-16 ounce sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly diced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, peeled and sliced crosswise
- 2 sprigs thyme
- 5 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup half and half (optional)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place squash cut-side down, potatoes and carrots on baking sheet. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and let squash cool enough to handle.
- Use a spoon to scoop out and discard squash seeds. Scrape the meaty away from the skin. Place the squash meat, potatoes and carrots in a bowl and reserve.
- Melt butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Add onion, celery and thyme and stir occasionally until soft and lightly browned (approximately 10 minutes).
- Discard the thyme.
- Stir in the broth and roasted vegetables and simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
- Puree soup in food processor or blender until smooth and return to saucepan (you may need to puree in batches).
- Add the half and half to the pureed soup.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper and re-heat if necessary before serving.
*These are traditional instructions; however, if you want to speed the process up a bit, you can always microwave the squash, potato and carrots to soften.
**Recipe provided from a friend (originally from the CBS Chef on a Shoestring segment in 1999 — Chef Chuck Adams)