I know you were thinking Butternut Squash.

All year long I look forward to the first bowl of Butternut Squash Soup. I know, I’m kind of weird that way. I readily admit that I am fantastic at making soups especially with a hunk of crusty bread and good company. Keep reading for a delicious recipe.

I think of it as pouring my soul into a bowl.

My absolute fondest memory was at my rustic cabin. One of my dearest friends was also at her cabin a lake over so I invited her for Sunday lunch after church. Butternut squash soup, bread and “can I pour you a glass of wine?” the reply surprised me “Renee, I’ve been sober for years!” opps. I sheepishly put the wine back and thus began a conversation that I will never forget.

The wisdom, laughter, tears — lots and lots of tears flowed. I would even venture to say, without the wine flowing our real emotions flowed instead. Since that mid-fall day at my cabin I’ve never looked at BS soup, wine or friendship in the same way. Something happened, I’m not sure what but I know I am forever changed.

I can’t give you a recipe to change your life through soup but I can give you the soup recipe and maybe, just maybe one day you will serve it and have a life changing experience.

Olive and Fig crackers as a topping. (my photo)

Renee’s Butternut Squash Soup

Creating the layers of flavor. (my photo)

1 Butternut Squash peeled, seeded and cut into chunks

A combination of onion, fennel bulb, leek, garlic, celery, apple, sauteed in olive oil or just a bit of broth.

1 carton of vegetable broth.

I’m trying to lose 100 pounds so I forgo the oil and sauté with the broth — it takes a bit more time so the veggies don’t burn but I can still get a caramelized taste. It helps that the apple adds moisture and natural sugar to assist the caramelization/flavor process.

Simmer, simmer, simmer. (my photo)

When making soup, the secret is to create layers of flavor.

In this soup having the savory veggies saute first as you are adding the second layer of flavor, the broth. Picking a high quality broth is personal preference and important. If the broth is meh, your soup will struggle to be more than meh.

Then I add the butternut squash to the sauteed veggies and the broth. I let it simmer.

Simmer! That does not mean crank the heat and cook it fast — no, no, no.

Think of making soup like trying to get a baby to sleep — it takes time and a gentle spirit.

Then I use my “zoomer”. I think they call it an immersion blender but that is simply too hard to say and not as much fun. In my opinion, life doesn’t need fancy words. As a final touch I may add some greens from the fennel — just because I love how they look — deep green, airy and surprisingly vibrant.

Your soup is ready to go. In my house I only have 3 eaters of this particular soup. Since I’m on this diet . . . I have limited my bread consumption back to nearly nothing but I can have a few pumpkin cranberry crisps or fig and olive crisps to give it another flavor dimension and a crunch. 

Nutrition Highlights

Boatloads of Vitamin A and over half of your vitamin C for the day.

Additionally, BS is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium and Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese.

For information on any food, my go to resource can be found here. This site gives me a ton of information — it’s like having your own nutritionist.

History

I just thought that this squash had been around forever . . . I imagined Native Americans eating a version of my soup with seasonal veggies. But NO!. The Natives of this land had never even heard of a butternut squash.

Why? So glad you asked.

The butternut is man made. It was bred by a Charles Leggett of Stow, Massachusetts, in the USA in the mid-1940s. Mr. Leggett took a gooseneck squash — the really pretty squash but a nightmare to peel and cook — with a variety of other squashes. He then took the baby squashes he liked and did it again and again until he found the perfect squash. Since it had a buttery flesh and had a slightly nutty taste . . . he named it Butternut. Honestly, I think he could have been more interesting in his naming.

How I cook it

I love roasted BS. 400 degrees for 30 minutes. I may or may not peel depending on what I’m using if for AND when I’m using it. When I have a big Sunday prep day but I’m not going to eat the squash until later in the week, this is how I cook it.

Rarely do I boil . . . anything. (Except potatoes for mashers.) Having said that the photos that go with this article are almost boiled BS — I had sauted the veggies then added broth to steam the BS then simmer. Ok, so this isn’t exactly boiling but not traditional steaming either.

Steaming is a fantastic way to cook the squash if you want to retain the pieces in chunks — like for a cold salad, maybe with dried cherries and a nice curry.

Storage

A cool, dry place and it will stay nice for up to six months. I keep mine on the shelf in the pantry away from the stove and the refrigerator — the ambient heat of appliances can warm up the squash. The nice thing about a butternut squash is they are readily available at the grocery store BUT can be tricky to find organic.

Food Friends of the Butternut Squash

Walnuts

Dried Cherries or Cranberries

Curry

Coconut Milk

Peanuts

Leeks

Fennel

Carrots

Pumpkin

Useful Ideas other than Soup

Muffins

Cubed in a cold salad — think potato salad with BS

Pancakes — think potato pancakes

Lasagna or Ravioli filling

Mashed with Cinnamon Sugar

You tell me . . .

Have you ever cooked a butternut squash?

Did you like it?

What is your favorite recipe?

Has someone served you BS and you liked it? Tell me about it in the comments.

Visit Renee at ReneeBaude.com.