It's here! You asked for it! My very simple butternut squash soup recipe. If you're like me, and your first, mildly traumatic experiences with butternut squash soup involved the cartons of pre-made, overly sweet crap you can buy at places like Trader Joe's (not hatin' though, I still love TJ's.) you might not like the idea of butternut squash soup. I know I never did.
The other day at work, a man who comes in often with his preteen son (who is an adorable, stern young man, who always says please and thank you) thanked me for the hot chocolates I made for them, and said, "You have a secret ingredient, don't you?" I acknowledged that we put a little something extra in, and he quickly stopped me and said, "Don't tell me! I don't want to know." (It's just vanilla, dude!) The idea of a "secret ingredient" is kind of silly to me, but I understand the appeal. Something subtle that people notice, but not overwhelming enough that it's all you taste. So what's the secret ingredient here?
Nothing fancy. Just roasted poblano peppers. Don't let me take all the credit, though- this recipe is all Jason. (Of course.) It adds a smoky, spicy finish to a sweet, rich soup. The preparation is simple, but it can quickly become overwhelmingly messy, so keep tabs on your kitchen or else you'll end up with a disaster like I did tonight, ha!
This is sort of a 'to-taste' recipe- like most of our soup recipes, but I'll try to be as exact as possible. For this batch, here's what I did:
2 butternut squashes
1 poblano pepper (you can adjust the spice level by adding more or less roasted pepper, but generally speaking, poblanos are rather mild.)
1/2 a white onion
1 small white shallot
1 whole head of garlic
3 very skinny carrots (or one or two larger ones)
3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. (In this case I used a vegetable stock that I made before our vacation using a large number of carrots, hoping the carrots would add to the sweetness of the soup. I think I was right.)
Preheat your oven to 375ºf.
Slice squashes lengthwise, so you can scoop out the seeds. You can cut them down a little more if you'd like, to fit on your pans and maybe cook a little faster. Drizzle with olive oil, salt lightly, and place on a baking sheet in the oven.
You know what? Do i need to describe the whole process? Everything gets drizzled in olive oil and roasted at the same time in the oven. I wrap the onions, shallot, and garlic individually in tinfoil, and leave the seeded, halved pepper on a baking sheet, along with the carrots. Keep an eye on the pepper and remove when it becomes blistery and begins to blacken.
Just peek in on everything every once in awhile and make sure nothing's burning. Pull things out as they finish (The peppers will finish first, then the carrots, then the shallot probably, then the garlic, then onion, then butternuts, probably.) Just keep poking everything until it's mushy. Let everything cool so you can handle it easily, and heat up your stock while you wait.
Bust out your blender or food processor, and put a large pot aside for the finished soup. Begin blending the ingredients (duh, don't forget to peel your butternut) in steps, adding warm stock as needed to get it smooth. Dump it all in the big pot and stir it up really well, adding more stock if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Put over heat if necessary- letting all the ingredients cool can leave you with a lukewarm soup. Serves 3-4.
Last night I happened to carve a pumpkin and I cleaned and toasted the seeds. I tossed a handful on my dinner salad and garnished my soup with them, too. All I did was wash them, let them dry overnight on a brown paper bag, and then coat them with olive oil & salt, and then toasted them for 10-15 minutes at 375º.
I can't help it, guys. It's fall! It rained half the day today, and then it got a little bit sunny. I went jogging this morning in the rain and I saw the sun painting the leaves of the trees bright gold, contrasted against a grey sky with a RAINBOW IN IT. It's beautiful out here! I'm going to drink some chamomile tea, and tomorrow afternoon I'm going to heat up the rest of my soup and eat it with a grilled cheese sandwich.