Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

DSC03965Oh gawd! It’s so good… Soup shouldn’t be this good.  Sweet and rich, creamy and thick, flavored with butter, ginger, cinnamon, thyme and cream… this is dinner?!

Fine.  I’m not arguing. I’m going to enjoy this amazing autumnal treat for dinner, and for lunch, and for dinner again… and know that I’m eating in season, with ingredients that have almost all been locally procured. Thank you fall.  You are such a provider.

DSC03718One might think that a mellow Sunday afternoon would mean mellow tunes, but this girl just went to a fabulous show on Friday, and I’m still amped on the surf/skate punk rock of FIDLAR! Cleaning and cooking to punk rock on a blustery day means all things good to this girl, and it kept me going.

This recipe is based off of another delicious recipe from my 40 Seasonal Soups book, acquired from making a donation to Sacred Heart Shelter in Seattle, as part of the best fundraising idea ever.

One note to you, the master chef: as always, let your ingredients be your guide.  If you have a particularly large butternut squash, use it. Maybe use two small onions instead of one medium sized one… amp up your spices a bit, and add extra butter and cream.  Follow your bliss, taste test as you go, and use the ingredients and directions as a guide. This is soup for goodness’ sake. Go wild.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash DSC03700
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 10 tbsp. butter (1 1/4 sticks) divided
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar with 1 tbsp. molasses added to the pot)
  • 6 cups chicken stock (I use vegetable stock if I don’t have any around)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3-5 fresh sprigs thyme (opt. garnish)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare squash by cutting in half lengthwise, removing pulp and seeds, and then crisscrossing with hatches.  Place both halves next to one another in a 9×13″ baking pan, with the hatches facing outward, and cut 8 tbsp. of butter into chunks and spread over the squash. DSC03962
  • Bake squash for 40 minutes, uncovered.
  • Remove squash, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and ginger, and bake for an additional 40 minutes.
  • While squash cooks, heat remaining 2 tbsp. of butter on medium heat, and add chopped onion.  Cook 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. DSC03702
  • Add chicken stock, bay leaf, and thyme to the onion and bring to a boil, before reducing to a simmer.
  • Remove squash from oven and let cool before handling. Cut skin off of squash, cutting squash into chunks to make blending easier . DSC03964
  • Add squash to chicken stock, and additionally spoon excess butter and brown sugar from baking pan into the pot. DSC03704
  • Remove pan from heat, and temporarily remove bay leaf.
  • Using an immersion blender, (or standing blender/food processor in batches), puree soup until smooth.
  • Add bay leaf back to soup and return to heat, bringing to a boil.
  • Add half-and-half to pot and reduce heat to a simmer, cooking for 10 minutes.  DSC03707
  • Add salt and pepper to taste (I used 2 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. pepper), and serve with a spring of fresh thyme for garnish, and a chunk of fresh bread.
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