I have been wanting to make some butternut squash soup for a while now, but sadly I don’t own a food processor, blender or immersion blender so I put it off. I started thinking about the soup again this past week and was determined to make it, so I thought if I cooked the squash enough I could just mash it, but then it wouldn’t have that smooth creamy texture so I finally went next door and asked my neighbor if she had a blender or food processor I could borrow. Of course she had one, and why had I not thought of asking her sooner? Who knows, I’m a bit slow lately. Being sick for a month has really thrown me for a loop. I am finally feeling better and getting back into cooking more. Poor Bryan has been dealing with my half-ass attempts of meals lately, which consisted of mostly “mushy” foods because I couldn’t chew anything. Even though this soup could be considered another “mushy” meal I refuse to look at it that way because I have been craving it for so long. To add a little bit of texture to the soup I topped it with some crispy bacon pieces and homemade gluten-free croutons (see recipe below).
Like always, I did some searching online for butternut squash soup recipes just to see what others put in theirs. I found that many of the recipes were similar to the one that I had floating around in my head so I figured I would just wing it and see how it tasted (maybe not always the best idea). Bryan hasn’t really eaten butternut squash much and has never had butternut squash soup, so to make it more appealing to him I wanted to add a bit of spice to it. The first time I ever had this soup was in China of all places. It was amazing. If you don’t like that much spice you can always start by cutting those ingredients in half at first, taste it and then add accordingly.
Spiced Butternut Squash Soup
2 tablespoons olive oil (or butter)
4 celery stalks – diced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium-large butternut squash (about 3 – 3.5 pounds) – See prep options below
1 large sweet potato (or two small/medium) Peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups of chicken broth (gluten-free low sodium/organic)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste
1/4-1/2 cup half and half
There are two ways that you can prepare the squash:
1- Cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and place flesh side down on a foil lined baking sheet (oiled/sprayed well). In a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Once roasted and cooled slightly scoop out flesh and add to soup
2- Peel the squash, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seeds and then chop into one inch cubes. Cook squash in the soup with out roasting.
The first one is probably a bit easier because the skin of the squash is very touch and can be a pain to peel. I have a really good peeler so I didn’t have any problems with it. So it is completely up to you on which method you prefer to use, and you will get great results either way. The recipe below is for option number two, however if you choose to roast your squash then scoop it out add it after you sauté the celery, garlic add the broth. You can then go right into pureeing the soup.
Peel and cut your squash and sweet potato and set aside. Over medium heat in a large sauce pan (or stock pot) add olive oil and celery, cook for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cook for an additional two minutes. Next, add squash, sweet potato, half of the spices and chicken broth. Bring to a boil for 20 minutes. Lower heat to simmer.
In small batches ladle the soup into a blender (or food processor) and puree until smooth and there are no chunks. Add the pureed soup back into the pan and repeat until all the soup has been pureed and it is smooth. Add remaining spices and half and half. Do Not bring back to a boil, just simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm with your choice of toppings (bacon, croutons, sour cream, spiced pumpkin seeds etc.)
We served ours with crumbled maple bacon bits and some gluten-free multigrain croutons. Croutons are so simple to make, I dont’ know why people buy them. You can make them how ever you wish, plain, garlic, seasoned etc. You should really try to experiment with them at some point. Great in both soups and salads or to just munch on.
6 pieces of gluten-free bread (I used Rudi’s Multi Grain Bread)
1 clove of garlic minced
3 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon melted butter
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl combine garlic, oil, butter and salt – set aside. Cut bread into small chunks and place them on a foil lined baking sheet. Drizzle the oil, butter and garlic mixture over the bread chunks. Toss the bread to make sure it is evenly coated. Bake at 300 for 15-20 minutes, turning once. Croutons should be a light/medium golden brown.
You can all any seasoning you wish to your croutons and increase the measurements according to the amount of bread you are using. Other seasoning options include: dried basil, dried oregano, celery seed, pepper, parsley, grated parmesan cheese or whatever you wish.
These can be stored in an air tight container for up to four weeks or frozen for up to six months.