Belonging to the Cucurbita family, the butternut squash is variation of a pumpkin. It has a sweet, nutty taste, which goes sweeter when it is most ripe. Apart from Vitamin C it is good source of magnesium, manganese and Vitamin A. This fruit that grows on a vine is commonly used in preparations all over USA, Australia and even some parts of Africa. The most popular among the many dishes that can be prepared from butternut squash is butternut squash soup. It is a very common Thanksgiving preparation and can be stored for a long time. In fact, many women prepare butternut squash soup two days prior to Thanksgiving night and store till that day – on Thanksgiving night, they just take it out from the fridge, warm it sufficiently and add the favourite garnish. Here’s the recipe for a simple butternut squash soup, with variations to suit one’s taste.
How To Make Butternut Squash Soup
- 3 tbsp Olive (not virgin) Oil
- 1 cup Hot Water
- 1 head Garlic Cloves, separated and unpeeled
- White Pepper
- 1 (2-lb) Butternut Squash
- 2½ cups Reduced Sodium Chicken Stock
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and pulp with a sharp-edged spoon.
- Rub the flesh of the squash with olive oil and place it cut-side down in a glass baking dish.
- Place garlic cloves in the dish around the squash.
- Pour water and oil into the baking dish and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the butternut squash is soft.
- Remove squash from oven and cool until you can handle it.
- Scrape the meat of the butternut squash into the bowl of a food processor.
- Squeeze the garlic cloves until the garlic squirts out. Place garlic in food processor with squash.
- Process the squash mixture for 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain.
- Pour in stock 1/2 cup at a time, and pulse four times after each addition.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour processed butternut squash mixture into a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- After having prepared the basic recipe for butternut squash soup, you could add your favourite garnish or make your variation of your choice. Here are some suggestions for garnishes and other variation:
- Creamy: Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup heavy cream after blending and gently heat until warmed through.
- Spicy: Add 1 chopped jalapeno chilli and 1/4 tsp. cayenne with the garlic. Stir in up to 1/4 cup brown sugar at the end. If you like, cream is also a nice addition to this version.
- Roasted: Roasting concentrates the flavor of the vegetables. You can use this method with any of the other flavor combinations you like. Put halved and seeded squash cut-side-down in a large pan. Arrange halved, peeled onions and garlic around squash. Pour in 1 cup broth and roast in a oven at 375oF oven for about 30 minutes or until it becomes very tender. Let it cool slightly. Scoop out squash flesh and put in blender, along with onions and garlic and remaining broth.
- Gingery: Add 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger and 1 tsp. ground ginger along with the garlic. Make it even gingery-er by melting 4 tbsp. butter in a small frying pan. Cook until it turns light brown and add 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger. Swirl the ginger butter on top of each serving.
- Warm Spices: Add a combination of 1/4 tsp. each ground cloves, cardamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, cinnamon, and/or black pepper along with the garlic.