Hi everyone. This is Chef Katie speaking.
I'm really into two things these days: (1) soups, and (2) cooking really healthy and tasty things from scratch. What follows is a heavily annotated recipe, so if you don't care for my witty banter, scroll to the bottom for the boring recipe.
First you'll choose a soundtrack. (Now that I think of it, I'm actually really into a third thing these days too... Classical piano. Mm, mm, I can't get enough of the stuff. So peaceful; so ideal for studying. And cooking.)
Next, you'll grab a butternut squash. You're going to have to stab it, and it'll probably cry. This is analogous to me getting a vaccinnation at the doctor's office. Poor thing.
Unlike me at the doctor's, pop the squash into the oven for about an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, you'll prep your other ingredients, and it will be awesome. The tears will be worth it, Squashie.
(By the way... squash is a good source of Vitamin E, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, and Magnesium, and a VERY good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, and Manganese. So eat up, friends.)
Okay, next, chop all your vegetables. The sweet potatoes will nicely round out the sweetness of the squash, and the onions and carrots and celery ("aromatic vegetables," if you'd like to know) will go a long way to adding flavor. I threw in some spices too, but I didn't measure (a trait I have inherited from my mother): fleur de sel, chili powder, cayenne powder, curry powder (don't worry, your soup will not taste like butter chicken), fresh ground black pepper, nutmeg, and garlic salt.
Now you'll toss the onion into a butter-EVOO combo (butter for flavor, olive oil to raise the smoke point and add some healthy fat to the mix), wait a little while, add in the carrots and celery and garlic (for the rest of our sakes, go easy, why don't you). Then if you feel like it, wait some more, and finally throw in the sweet potato cubes. It's a party! Brown everything. That caramelization on the bottom of the pan is a one-way ticket to Flavor Town (okay, I'm quoting Guy Fieri)!!!
"Ding ding," dings the timer; the squash is done! (Actually mine wasn't but it was well after 8:00 pm and I was getting impatient for dinner.) All that matters, really, is that the squash is soft enough that the skin peels off. Roughly chop the squash and add it, plus the chicken stock, to the pot! (I suppose I lied when I said this soup was "from scratch," seeing as I purchased my chicken broth. But it's decent stuff, and I have a life outside of boiling whole chickens to brew broth.) Now is probably a good time to add the spices you (didn't) measure out. You'll simmer the whole mix to your heart's content.
Bring in the power tools. We have a hand blender, and it's stellar. I suppose you could transfer the boiling chunky liquid into a blender, but be careful. You'll buzz the mix until it's smooth. Give it a taste, add more spices to taste, and serve it up.
Et voilà! (I had a can of coconut milk already open in the fridge so I poured some of that in and garnished with parsley. Sour cream would have done nicely too.) Bon appétit!
THE BORING VERSION:
This recipe will make five-ish servings. The end result is thick, smooth, and sweet, perfect for fall!
A couple tablespoons of olive oil +/or butter
A butternut squashed, baked, seeded, and peeled
An onion, chopped
A couple stalks of celery, diced
A carrot or two, diced
Maybe garlic (but go easy), minced
Two sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
A carton of chicken stock
Spices: curry, cayenne, chili powder, nutmeg, and garlic powder, plus salt and pepper to taste
Coconut milk or sour cream for garnish
1) Puncture then bake squash for about an hour at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Heat butter and squash in a large pot, then cook onion, carrot, celery, and sweet potatoes.
3) Seed and peel squash, and dump into pot. Add chicken stock and spices too.
4) Bring soup to a boil, reduce its heat to low, cover, and simmer for a half hour. Vegetables should be tender.
6) Garnish and serve!