Ginger Butternut Squash Soup
One of my favorite things that the cold weather brings is butternut squash, in all of its sweet, slightly nutty glory. My other favorite thing the cold weather brings? The ability to eat soup as often as you please without prejudice or judgement. I’m a huge soup fan – not only is it comforting, healthy, and easy to make – it’s extremely economical. You can make a giant batch now and freeze it in single serving portions for any of those too tired to cook/too sick to move/too broke to get takeout nights that seem to inevitably pop up around the holidays.
In addition to being a huge soup fan, I’m a big advocate of the freezer. You all should know by now that I can’t stand the thought of throwing away leftovers (I literally can’t stand it – maybe a side effect of my time in Africa – but it gives me severe anxiety to see food go in the trash). I freeze everything and keep a list of what exactly I have in my freezer. Then when I’m meal planning, I can plan to incorporate some of the frozen leftovers/leftover ingredients. That’s another big perk to meal planning – having it all laid out lets you know when you need to pull something out of the freezer, and all of your frozen goodies don’t go untouched because you never have time to thaw them out.
Now let me come down off my soap box (or ice box), and tell you about the very best soup for cold winter nights: Ginger Butternut Squash Soup.
(my pictures are getting bigger – can you tell I”m getting the hang of this?)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped or grated
2 cups butternut squash, cubed
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper
One of best things about this soup is that you can make it any way your schedule permits. My favorite prep is to roast the veggies, which just adds a little depth of flavor. The above measurements make three good-sized bowls of soup (in my case, one for now, two for the freezer).
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Throw your butternut squash, chopped shallot, and ginger in a baking dish, drizzle the olive oil over the veggies and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes, flipping the squash about half way through.
Step 2: Put your veggies in a blender in batches (it will take about three batches) with the chicken stock and blend until smooth. If you have an imersion blender, throw the roasted veggies in a pot with the chicken stock and blend.
Step 3: Simmer the blended soup on the stove for 10 minutes without letting it boil. Salt and pepper to taste.
Garnish with whatever you have handy! Goat cheese, parmesan, fresh parsley, or nothing at all…I used some goat cheese left over from my pomegranate crostini.
A quick note on ginger: It’s intimidating. Whenever you see it in the store, it’s part of a giant root that you can’t ever picture yourself using all of. Ever. A hint? You don’t have to take the whole root – break off a knob! The broken ends will just dry up, but will not effect the product. Ginger also freezes incredibly well (me? using the freezer? shocker). Wrap it in saran wrap, throw it in a plastic bag, and when you’re ready to use again, run it under cool water, slice off the skin, and slice what you need. I promise it’s easy, and using fresh ginger in recipes that call for it makes all the difference. In this case, it gives the soup a little spice and a little bite – just enough to wake up the squash.
Alternative method? Throw all ingredients in a soup pot, bring to a boil, turn the heat down and simmer until squash is soft. Blend until smooth. Finish up by patting yourself on the back for being an excellent, albeit lazy, cook.