Squash Soup

Picture 388Checking the status of the vegetables we store for the winter is a weekly task. How are the onions holding up? Are the beets still staying firm? We go through the stored boxes of vegetables looking for any that may have gotten soft or are beginning to spoil. We check the potatoes, turnip, beets and garlic. We turn over each winter squash looking for brown or soft spots that may indicate its limited shelf life. By doing this weekly, we can often make use of a vegetable before it has really turned. This week I brought down some butternut squash that had a couple of tiny blemishes. Not rotten or soft, but having a potential of heading in that direction. So, let’s throw them into the mix of this week’s menu before they’re lost. Waste not want not, a good old saying. Squash soup is probably one of the easiest soups to make. No formal recipe needed, and it’s a good ‘ stick to your ribs’ kind of soup. And…… extra special served with some homemade biscuits.
Here’s how we make ours: ( although we are never opposed to changing things up and throwing in new ingredients).
First, I roast or bake the squash. This is the most timing saving way for me to have the flesh cooked without having to peel the squash. Cut the squash in half, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, maybe a little smear of butter and maple syrup, and place face ( flesh) down on a cookie sheep. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour or until very soft. This will depend on the size of the squash. Take out and let cool a bit so you can comfortably scoop the cooked flesh from the skin.
In a large pot saute some chopped onions and a clove of garlic with 3 or 4 TBLS. of butter. Cook until soft and translucent. Add your cooked squash along with some chicken stock. The amount of chicken stock is determined by how thick or thin you want your soup. You may be adding some cream or whole milk towards the end if you want a richer soup, so keep this in mind when adding liquid. From here, you can add the herbs or spices you think may pair well with squash. Thyme is nice. A bit of ground ginger goes well. We often add a pinch of cayenne pepper and a small bit of tamari. Smoked paprika would be yummy. On a cold night this makes a satisfying meal…….along with those biscuits I mentioned, of course. As we rummage through our squash supply, I’ll keep you posted on all the other ways we use them in recipes. Enjoy!