When I was young the word squash was a "bad" word to me. If my mother were to say "come on, we're having squash for dinner", my first inclination would be to run and hide!
First off the word itself conjures something that isn't whole, but that has either been stepped on, or dropped. When you squash food it becomes indistinct and unrecognizable. To top this off my early memory of squash was frozen zucchini, over-boiled, served in water with a medley of other "Italian vegetables". Then there was the winter squash that sat in a bowl on the kitchen counter like a decoration; I never wanted any part of it either.
But then one cold winter day when I was a teenager my mother offered me half of an acorn squash she had baked. After an initial refusal she told me she would put brown sugar, cinnamon and butter on it. This sounded adequately tempting and the fact that it was steamy hot on a cold Buffalo, NY winter day didn't hurt either. I remembered tasting it and being delightfully surprised! The deep earthy tones of the squash mixed with the exotic cinnamon and sweet brown sugar took me to a new place. All these years later I can still go to that place, and this recipe is one way to get there! Butternut squash in many ways has even more of the qualities that endeared me to squash that day. And a Butternut squash soup, if done right,also has a silky smooth texture that is unbeatable. Not to mention its beautiful orange color.
This recipe is one I came up with when I was trying to get the most out of butternut squash. The fresh ginger adds a nice, faintly spicy element, the nutmeg adds a bit of exotic warmth. On a whim I threw a potato in,to make the soup a bit more hearty and really like what if did for the texture.
Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small sweet onion, chopped fine
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1" cubes
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated, or diced.
1 tsp nutmeg
salt/pepper to taste
1 large Butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1' cubes
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1' cubes
8 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1 tsp brown sugar
• Heat the olive oil in a soup pot on medium heat
• Add the onions and garlic, cook for 30 seconds, or until the onions are translucent
• Stir in the carrot, celery and ginger, butternut squash, potato, salt, pepper (to taste) and nutmeg, mix well and cook for two to four minutes, cover everything evenly on the spices and oil.
• Add the Chicken Stock and the brown sugar, mix everything together well and bring the heat to high until the pot boils
• Once the pot comes to a steady boil turn it down to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so
• After 45 minutes remove the pot from the heat and blend the soup in a food processor until smooth, but be careful it's very hot! if you don't have a blender large enough to hold the entire contents of the pot blend the soup in batches.
• Serve hot and enjoy!