Yep, it’s fall. And fall in Chicago means that there’s frost on the ground when we wake up and the furnace kicks on all night long trying its best to keep the house comfortable as the temperatures plunge. During the day, we might get a respite into the 50s, but it’s still chilly, and by the time sets at 5pm (ok, so it just feels like it’s 5pm, it’s cold again and I’m ready for a bowl of soup and some fresh bread.
This week, I did a roasted butternut squash soup that made a lot of soup – yay! – that the wee ones even liked – yay, yay! – and was super healthy – yay yay yay? – and took a minimal amount of effort. By minimal I mean I started it just before I left to pick Little Miss up from her Daisy meeting then finished it a couple hours later while helping her with homework.
Yum. And yes, I did have some of the soup for breakfast (again) this morning.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 decent size butternut squash
1 bulb garlic
3 c chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make this vegan)
1 c milk (I used rice milk to make this dairy free)
1/2 t nutmeg (ha, like I measured this)
salt and pepper to taste
Split your butternut squash in half with a sharp knife. Use a large knife, and give it a good whack to get it started. I then find it easiest (and safest) to leave the knife embedded and simply pound the squash on the cutting board, much like you might do when splitting wood. Once the squash is open, scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Yes, you can save them for later to roast like pumpkin seeds. (Yes, it’s a theme with me right now.)
Lightly oil a 13×9 glass baking dish, and place the halves of the butternut squash cut side down. Peel your onion, cut it in half and place it cut side down, as well. Lastly, cut off the top of your bulb of garlic. Set it on a piece of tin foil, and lightly drizzle it with olive oil. Place this atop your squash.
Roast all of these at 375 degrees for forty-five minutes. You’ll see the skin start to soften and shrivel just a bit. When it’s soft to the touch, it’s done.
Note that I didn’t go through the effort of peeling my squash ahead of time or cutting it into pretty little cubes. Nope, I’m of the opinion that minimal effort can still create great dishes. Once it’s roasted, you simply scoop the flesh into your soup pot, leaving the skin behind. The skin will practically peel off by itself.
Squeeze the garlic from the bulb into the pot, as well. Try not to be like me. I have a horrible time resisting saving some of the freshly roasted garlic to put on the bread I know I’m going to bake with this, too. Roasted garlic is awesome. And so easy. Little Miss has requested that I make some just for her even. Add the onion, making sure to trim the root end of the onion before you add it. There’s no need to cut it any further, as you’ll puree everything later. Add the 3 cups chicken stock, and bring it to a simmer for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes of simmering, add the milk. Either use your immersion blender to puree it – if you don’t have one, buy one; this is one of the most used tools in my kitchen – or you can use your standard blender. If you use your standard blender, be sure to fill it no more than one-third full and hold the top closed with a kitchen towel. The heat with cause the air in the canister to expand, and you don’t want it to blow out hot soup to burn you (see, another reason why an immersion blender is so awesome).
Serve immediately with hot bread. This will last in the fridge for a few days, and personally I like it both hot and cold. The roasted garlic and onion add such a great flavor to this, and so healthy and hearty for a fall day.
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