I love the hearty, winter root vegetables that are abundant this time of the year. But without question, my favorite is butternut squash. The subtle sweetness (intensified when it's roasted) and beautiful orange-golden hue make it a delight for the taste and the eyes.
Funny enough, I didn't grow up eating this winter staple; yellow, summer squash was pretty much the extent of my squash forays back then. But several years ago, as I became rather serious about my cooking/foodie passion, I began noticing it more and more. Ultimately, it made its way into my kitchen--and has never left.
Transforming butternut squash into a luscious and satisfying soup is an easy and healthy undertaking. With a few aromatics to form a hearty base, rich chicken broth (vegetable broth or water can also be substituted), an ample seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg, and the star ingredient, itself, you've got a delicious soup that you'll come back to again and again. At least I know I will.
Butternut Squash Soup
2-3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus more to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat butter and oil in a large soup or stock pot. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and the vegetables begin to soften. Add in the butternut squash, broth, nutmeg and another sprinkling of salt and pepper (being careful to season every layer during cooking), stir together and simmer until the vegetables are cooked through and softened, about 30-40 minutes.
Puree the soup with an immersion blender or allow it to cool slightly and then puree in batches in a traditional blender. Season further to taste and enjoy.