Today we have a wholesome homemade soup. Roasted butternut squash forms the basis of this delicious appetizer or light main course meal. The best part about making soup at home is that you can generally use whatever you have on hand. For that reason, substitutions in this recipe are encouraged. Go ahead and try new combinations, have fun with it! One note in particular, you can use vegetable broth as a substitute to make this in a vegan/vegetarian version.
Before we get started let’s chat a bit about squash. It is a vegetable that has been cultivated for at least 12,000 years. Part of a trio, squash, beans and corn, that provided key nutritional value for Native Americans. Butternut squash was actually bred in Massachusetts in the 1940’s by Charles Leggett. He was looking to create a squash that would be tasty, the right size and easy to prepare for a family dinner. Every fall, when these start showing up in the grocery store in numbers, we certainly appreciate all of Mr. Leggett’s hard work.
Soups are not just for winter but are also an excellent way for single cooks to prepare fresh wholesome meals. Eating a portion that evening and saving the remainder in the freezer without sacrificing too much flavor. For other soup ideas on this site, check out our Mexican Chicken Soup or this Ham Bone Soup that you might enjoy after that traditional Easter Ham dinner.
Let’s get to creating this delicious dish!
The day before starting the soup, roast the butternut squash by smearing it with olive oil and baking it on a broiler pan in a 350° oven for an hour. Let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.
Olive oil (to sauté onion and celery)
White part of 2 leeks (or 1/2 large onion) diced
1 or 2 stalks celery, finely chopped (optional)
3 cups chicken broth (or ham broth – I use 3 cups water with 2-1/2 Tbsp ham base, you can also substitute this for vegetable broth for vegan/vegetarian version)
1/3 cup dry sherry – (or red wine)
2 tart apples peeled and diced (granny smith or braeburn), you can also use a sweeter apple like gala or fuji but be mindful the sweet taste when adding the orange juice later
Butternut squash (the roasted squash peels easily) peeled & diced into large chunks
2 medium peeled and chopped russet potatoes
1 cup fresh orange juice – (if you used sweet apples, then substitute with a 1/2 cup lemon juice)
1 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 Tbsp curry powder to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1-1/4 cups half & half
A dollop of sour cream at serving
First into the 5-quart soup pot, sauté leek (or onion) with the celery until translucent. Add sherry and broth, squash, potatoes and apples. Bring to boil and cook until the apples and potatoes are very tender, about 45 minutes to an hour.
After the first ingredients have cooked through, Add orange juice (or lemon juice), honey, salt, curry and pepper. Reduce heat to simmer and continuing cooking, stirring every 15 minutes or so until everything is “smooth”, about hour.
Remove from heat and use immersible blender to purée any remaining vegetable chunks. Finally, gently blend in the half & half.
To serve, sprinkle pepper on top and add a dollop of sour cream.
Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen into convenient serving size containers. When ready for use, thoroughly heat before serving but do not boil. For example you can use the defrost settings in your microwave to gently reheat by weight or if refrigerated and using stove top, gradually reheat on low or low medium setting while closely supervised.
As a small bowl of soup before the main course of dinner, this recipe has 8 to 10 servings or for the main meal, it will satisfy about 6 people with crackers or bread on the side.