Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

R oasted Butternut Squash Soup

 

Nothing makes me think of fall quite like the rich flavor of butternut squash.  While soup isn’t usually on the menu for Thanksgiving until the leftovers from the Turkey find their way into the pot on Friday, I love the idea of having a pot of tasty piping hot soup ready for lunch or an early snack as guests come in from the cold and the turkey is still roasting or resting.

 

There are a few important elements to keep in mind while preparing this recipe.  First, although the squash is roasted, it is important not to roast it too long, or the squash will darken and turn your soup brown instead of a vibrant orange.  For that reason, make sure that you add enough water to the roasting pan, and check it a few times during the roasting, adding more water if needed to keep the squash and pan from browning.  The squash can be roasted in advance, and the soup can also be made a few days ahead to save time for other cooking tasks.  Also, if you happen to be in possession of a pumpkin pie spice blend that hides in the back of your spice rack waiting to be used this time of year, you can substitute 1 tsp. for the nutmeg and cinnamon.

 

For the Orange Crème, I use Mexican Crema which is like a thin sour cream, and it can be found in the refrigerated ethnic foods section at most grocery stores.  You can also use sour cream

 

 

Serves: 8-10

 

Butternut Squash, halved and seeded 1 each (1½-2 lbs.)

Water as needed (total 10 cups)

Butter, unsalted 4 Tbsp.

Onion, peeled and sliced 1 large or 2 medium (12 oz)

Carrot, peeled and sliced 1 large (5 oz)

Sweet Potato, peeled and sliced 1 medium (8 oz)

Sugar 2 tsp.

Salt to taste

Nutmeg ¼ tsp.

Cinnamon ¾ tsp.

Thyme, fresh 1 sprig

Orange Cream

Crème Fraiche, or Mexican Crema ½ cup

Orange Zest From 1 Orange

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F conventional cooking temperature (the convection will cause more evaporation of the water, and we want a gentle roasting for this step).  Make sure to halve your squash from the stem end to the bulbous end, then place this flat side face down in a 9×13 baking dish, or a roasting pan that comfortably holds both squash halves.  Fill the pan with water until it reaches about 3/4” up the side of the squash.  Roast, checking every 20 minutes, until the squash is fully roasted, and tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Cool the squash until it can be safely and comfortably handled, and reserve the water in the roasting pan.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pot or dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat, and add the onion, carrot, sweet potato, sugar, and a large pinch of salt.  Stir and cover, turning the heat to medium low to maintain a gentle simmer.  Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, keeping them covered, until the onions are transluscent and the carrots and sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes.  Do not brown the vegetables.
  3. When the squash is cooled, scoop out the flesh, being careful to remove all the skin.  Add squash to the pot.  Then measure the water from the roasting pan and add more water to total 10 cups.  Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and thyme, turn the heat to high and bring to a simmer.  Turn the heat down to medium low and continue simmering 20 minutes.
  4. Remove the sprig of thyme and transfer the hot soup to a blender to puree.  Puree in batches until the soup is completely smooth.  The soup can now be served garnished with a dollop of the orange cream and candied pecans or toasted pumpkin seeds.  Or you can refrigerate the soup and reserve until the feast.

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Dayton City Paper Dining Critic Paula Johnson would like every meal to start with a champagne cocktail and end with chocolate soufflé. As long as there’s a greasy burger and fries somewhere in the middle. Talk food with Paula at PaulaJohnson@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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