Well, then. Hello, Sunday! The weather here has only gotten better insofar as it no longer hurts your face to go outside – it’s still mostly gray, sloppy, and cold. My day job is still bonkers, and because that wasn’t enough for my crazy self, I also took on a pretty big freelance gig with a pretty tight turnaround. Such is my life. I hope you can all forgive me.
Thankfully, I have a spouse who is willing to make dinner.
On the one night this week I did get to cook myself, I wanted easy, warm, and cozy food. I’m also still working on a budget, and I still have a vegetarian in the house. (Vegetarians are great; I just need more practice at cooking veggie-friendly food.) So of course, I decided that soup is the way to go.
Butternut squash is warm and cozy no matter what you do with it. Soup is kind of a cop-out with this wonderful veggie, but it’s such a delicious cop-out that I don’t mind. It’s very quick – maybe 30 minutes start to finish? – and very flexible.
So, we start with Le Butternut Squash:
So you want to start by peeling and cubing your squash. First, I want to say that peeling any other squash is a royal pain in the ass, so don’t even try it with anything else. Second, the only way to peel butternut squash is with a very sharp steel or ceramic peeler – then it’s actually pretty easy.
You can also buy this stuff pre-cut at the grocery store these days. Or, if you want to DIY but don’t have a sharp peeler, you can halve the thing longways and either roast it with a little olive oil, S&P (350°) for about 45 minutes (drool), or nuke it for 5-10 (fast!). These latter two options have an extra bonus of reducing the simmer time for the soup itself.
Ok, squash get! Now chop up an onion:
And throw it into a soup pot (also known as a kettle, pasta pot, or very large saucepan) with some olive oil over medium-high heat.
Then throw in the squash, assuming you haven’t otherwise cooked it yet:
You’re gonna cook this stuff for a while, maybe 5-10 minutes or more, until the onion is translucent and maybe juuuust beginning to brown. Stir occasionally – you want the heat high enough to do something but low enough that you don’t have to stand there tending it the whole time. You can use this intermediate time to do something like make a salad or whip up a batch of biscuits. Hmm…biscuits…
Once your onions look tasty (the squash won’t look anything more than a bit soft/wet on the sides – it won’t brown), add about 4 cups of broth. If you have pre-cooked your squash, now is the time to add it. I used vegetable broth made from Better than Bullion, but I’ll often use homemade chicken stock. Bring that up to a boil and then turn it down to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Put a lid on it if you have one handy.
It was about this time that I decided I wanted biscuits with my soup – nice cheesy herby biscuits. So I started working on those. They’re easy-peasy – you just take your favorite biscuit recipe (even Bisquick) and stir in some shredded cheese and herbs when you mix the wet and dry ingredients.
Then I decided I wanted decadent biscuits, so I brushed them with melted garlic butter.
Into the oven with those bad boys – whatever your biscuit recipe tells you. Mine took a little longer than advertised.
When those get close to being done in the oven, you want to blend up and season your soup. I have a stick blender that I totally love for this kind of thing, but you can use a regular blender, too – just let the soup cool a bit and be careful. I blend the everliving daylights out of mine, since I like a silky velvety soup like the ones I ate in Australia a few years ago.
Now, seasonings. Salt and pepper is almost mandatory, but from there, you can do wherever you’d like. For an eastern style, try adding some coconut milk, ginger, and curry powder. You could do a southwestern hint with lime juice and chili powder. A sweet-style soup might have a bit of maple syrup and maybe some cloves, mace, or allspice. You can add some cream or crème fraîche or yogurt if you’d like a creamier soup. I ended up using salt, pepper, and just a hint of ginger and curry – just enough to add some flavor complexity, not enough to make it taste like squash curry.
You may have to reheat the soup a bit depending on how much stuff you put in it and how cold it was. Do that. Then serve this soup with your wonderful cheesy-herby-buttery biscuits.