Saturday, May 28, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I like to make this soup year-round, as it is light enough to enjoy even on warm days but oh-so-comforting on cool days. I like to eat it with a vegetable-laden sandwich on whole wheat bread or with a vegetable and greens salad--it is really versatile and lends itself well to being part of any meal.

If you have never tried butternut squash, you are really missing out! It's smooth and creamy when baked/roasted (the only way to prepare it in my book), a little sweet (not as much so as a sweet potato), and one cup of baked butternut squash cubes contains over 4 times the standard daily requirement of Vitamin A, just over half the standard daily requirement of Vitamin C, 8% for Calcium, 7% for Iron and 2 grams of protein. Not too shabby for on oft-overlooked vegetable!

Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
1 organic apple
3 medium organic carrots
2 stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1-inch thick slab of onion (rings)
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh cracked black pepper
optional: red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to taste

Step 1: Wash butternut squash thoroughly. Cut it the long way down the middle and scoop out seeds/pulp with a spoon. Drizzle with olive oil, a little kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Place on a cookie sheet (I lined mine with foil to make clean-up easier) and in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.

Step 2: Wash apple, carrots and celery. Core apple and cut into eight pieces. Cut carrots in half the long way and then in 1-2 inch chunks, depending on thickness. Remove as much string from the celery as possible and cut in 2-inch chunks. Crush garlic cloves and  remove skin. Cut onion ring/slab in half so they are then in half-circle shape, separate. Remember to save the trimmings for more vegetable stock!

Step 3: When butternut squash has cooked alone for 30 minutes, remove from oven and add celery, carrot, garlic and onion to the pan, leaving squash on it as well. I ended up with a pile of everything at each end of the pan, but you can plop it all in the middle or do it however it works best for you. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Place in same 400-degree oven for 30-40 minutes, until vegetables are nice and caramelized (you want to see a bit of color on them). Remove from oven and let cool for 20 minutes or until squash halves can be comfortably handled.

Step 4: With a spoon, scoop flesh from one squash half into a blender, add half of celery/carrot/onion/garlic mixture and 2 cups of vegetable stock. Blend until smooth and pour into large soup/stock pot or Dutch oven. Repeat with remaining squash, vegetables and stock. Add red pepper flakes or cayenne if desired and taste to see if any additional salt or pepper is needed (we try to keep a low sodium diet, so I don't add salt beyond what I sprinkle on the veggies). Heat through over medium-high heat and serve or refrigerate/freeze.


Butternut squash: one medium (2 lb) squash was $1.49/lb = $3.48
Homemade vegetable stock = next to nothing
Organic apple: one 8 oz apple at $1.29/lb =  $.65
Organic carrots: 1-lb bag for $.98, used three of them, which is 3/10 of the bag = $.29
Celery: One head for $1.18, used two stalks, which is 1/5 of the head = $.24
Garlic: One head was $.25, used two cloves, which is 1/6 of the head = $.04
Onion: One medium red onion (12 oz) was $.75/lb ($.56 total), used about 1/3 of it = $.19

Total Cost: $4.89
1 cup servings (8): $.61 per serving
1 1/2 cup servings (5): $.98 per serving

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