Healthy, hearty butternut squash soup

Butternut squash soup, garnished with goat cheese coulis

When the weather gets colder, home-made soups are a great
way to stay warm. Served on its own, or as a starter before a meal, soup is
simple and delicious.

As the fall season is now in full force, butternut squash
has made its triumphant return to markets everywhere. This winter fruit, which
is considered a type of pumpkin, is full of fibre, vitamins A, E and C, potassium
and magnesium. It is also a source of protein.

Butternut squash can be served in a variety of ways, but one
of my favourite uses for it is in soup. It is simple, elegant, and filling
enough to be served on its own. I prefer to roast my squash ahead of time, as
it allows the flavours to develop and makes the soup easier to work with.
Simply cut the squash in half length-wise, and remove the seeds. After it has
been roasted in a hot oven for about 45 minutes, the meat is easily removed
from the skin. To add flavour to this pureed soup, I add carrots, celery and
onion along with fresh thyme.

To make this squash, begin by sweating the vegetables and
thyme in a large pot. Add the roasted squash, and some chicken stock, and bring
to a boil. After these steps, all that’s left to do is puree the soup with
either an emersion blender or in a food processor. The nice thing about the emersion
blender is that this can be done right in the pot; but, if you only have a food
processor to use, remember that hot liquid expands so it will need to be
blended in batches and the pureed soup will need to be returned to a new pot on
the stove. Simply simmer the pureed soup for a few minutes to reduce and
thicken, and develop its flavours further. At this point, I like to finish my
soup with spices. Cinnamon works really well in this soup, and adds a depth of
flavour. Cumin is another spice that works well with the flavour of the squash.

To garnish my soup, I made a creamy goat cheese coulis. This
versatile and elegant coulis has a similar consistency to yogurt, and has a
mild goat cheese flavour. It is a great garnish for soup, but also drizzled on
top of salad, or as a finisher on top of bruschetta. Simply spoon a small drop
into the center of the soup bowl to add colour and creaminess.

Butternut squash soup

You will need:

1 butternut squash, cut in half with seeds removed

1 cup water

½ cup maple syrup

1 tbsp butter

4 cups chicken stock

2 stalks celery, chopped finely

1 large carrot, or 2 small carrots, chopped finely

¼ onion, diced finely

The leaves of 4 stems of fresh thyme, chopped finely

1 tsp cinnamon, freshly grated

1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a roasting pan that will comfortably hold
    both halves of the squash, place squash skin-side down with a bit of water in
    the bottom of the pan.
  3. Roast squash for 30 minutes. At this point, add
    butter and maple syrup to the cavities of the halved squash, and return to the
    oven for another 15 to 20 minutes. Squash should be soft and tender when done.
  4. Allow squash to cool, and then remove from skin.
  5. In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over
    medium-high heat. Sautee chopped vegetables and thyme with a bit of salt, until
    softened. Add squash and chicken stock. Mix well, and bring to a boil.
  6. Once the mixture has come to a boil, reduce heat
    to low immediately. Puree until smooth. Add cinnamon and nutmeg.
  7. Allow to continue to cook for at least 5 to 10
    minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  8. Pour into bowls and garnish with goatcheese coulis.

Goatcheese coulis

You will need:

½ cup goatcheese, softened at room temperature

½  cup Half and Half

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine both ingredients.
  2. Whisk until completely smooth.
  3. Use as a garnish for soups, salads, or
    open-faced sandwiches.

*Note: this coulis can be made in a large
batch, and kept in a container for weeks.  Simply whisk it before using.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Yummy! Squash is fast becoming my favourite fruit! Your soup has a great colour – I love the swirl.

    Reply

    • I know I love squash too!! It’s so versatile and yummy! The swirl is the goat cheese coulis, and more than anything I think it just adds some pizazz! I really recommend making the coulis, just to put a drop into the soup, but you can use it to garnish so many other things too! Give it a try!
      If you’re not afraid of fat, sometimes I like to put a bit of 35% cream into my squash soup as a finish, and a bit of butter. But it’s completely optional!! 😉
      Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      Reply

  2. Posted by Rochelle Boivin on October 25, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Fabulous colour and delish ingredients. This soup is sure to please. Will share with family and friends. True cuisine art form!! 🙂

    Reply

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