By Dawn Richards
The cooler temperatures of the fall season beckon for warm, comforting fare. And one of my favorite ways to savor the season is with homemade soup. With the hearty root vegetables that are in season and abundant this time of year, it’s the perfect way to bring in delicious flavors that make the most of the season’s bounty.
Without question, one of my favorite winter root vegetables is butternut squash; and when it comes to soups, it makes for a good one. The subtle sweetness (intensified when it’s roasted) and beautiful orange-golden hue make it a delight for the palate and the eyes. Transforming butternut squash into a luscious and satisfying soup is an easy and healthy undertaking. With a few aromatics to form a hearty base, rich chicken broth (vegetable broth or water can also be substituted), an ample seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg, and the star ingredient, itself, you’ve got a delicious soup that you’ll come back to again and again.
I especially love sharing my recipe for butternut squash soup during the holidays. Last year, I served it at my family’s Thanksgiving dinner and it was a big hit. So as you’re looking to round out your holiday, or everyday, menu, consider adding a soup course that showcases the hearty flavors of fall, one delicious bowl after another.
Butternut Squash Soup
2-3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat butter and oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and the vegetables begin to soften. Add in the butternut squash, broth, nutmeg and another sprinkling of salt and pepper (being careful to season every layer during cooking), stir together and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and softened, about 30-40 minutes.
Purée the soup with an immersion blender or allow it to cool slightly and then purée in small batches in a traditional blender. Season further to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg, and enjoy.