Sunday, December 16, 2007

Butternut Squash Soup

My family has belonged to the local CSA for about 6 years now. In the winter, we get a lot of butternut squash, and I am always looking for healthy and easy recipes for it. But I really refuse to cut and peel it, which means my recipes are limited.

I am not much of a soup person...I prefer stews, nice and thick. But this is a recipe that I got from my mother-in-law, who I think got it from her local newspaper. In any event, it's healthy, pretty cheap, and quite yummy. It has the added bonus of not having cream or cheese in it (so our Chinese friends like it), and it can easily be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.

It's also quick and simple to make, particularly if you use my freezing roasted squash trick (below). We had it for dinner tonight, and actual hands-on time was probably 30 mins (15 to dice the veggies, 5 to make the butter, 10 to puree).

1-2 Tbsp butter
2 lb of butternut squash (my MIL buys it frozen. We use the fresh from the farm.)
3/4 c. chopped onion
3/4 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. apple juice
6 c. low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Ginger butter
4 T. butter
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground ginger

If using full butternut squash, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast it facedown in the oven until it's soft. You know, 400 degrees for 40 min, 350 degrees for an hour or 90 min, I don't really know. I just roast it until it looks good. Definitely a Sunday-afternoon thing. (TIP: I actually roast my squash and freeze it until I need it later.)

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 min. Add apple juice and cook for 1 min. Add chicken broth.

Add the squash here, whether roasted or diced. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 20-30 min (or until squash is tender if you didn't roast it first).

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Let cool a bit. Puree in blender in batches. You really don't want to fill it more than half full, or it will overflow and be HOT (hubby figured this out the hard way). Put pureed soup back in pan and re-heat. Serve with a dollop of ginger butter.

Ginger butter: Heat 1 T butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add grated ginger. Cook 30 sec. Add syrup and ground ginger. Cook 1 min. Remove from heat, let cool, and combine with remaining butter.

This soup freezes well, you'll just need to remake more ginger butter.

My estimates on cost: Makes about 8-10 cups, one cup per serving.

1 squash: $0.99
1 onion: 0.15
3-4 stalks celery: 0.40
2 T butter: 0.13
apple juice: 0.33 (just buy a small bottle because we don't drink it)
chicken broth: 3.00 if you buy it, practically free if you make it.
1 1/2 tsp vanilla: eh? 0.38 I think

4 T. butter: 0.25
1 T. ginger: 0.05
1 tsp maple syrup: 0.05
1/2 tsp ground ginger: 0.05

Total cost for 8-10 servings is $5.40 or $2.40, depending on where you get your chicken stock. That's 0.24 to 0.54 per serving.

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