I don’t often post meals or savory dishes here, but it’s not because I never make them. I just can’t seem to get decent pictures when trying to get dinner on the table and I find photographing savory food is a lot harder than snapping a couple photos of some delicious cookies or a piece of cake. It’s just me though because there are some beautiful savory pictures out there in food blogging land. After making this Butternut Squash Soup today though, I was pleased with the pictures and even more happy about how delicious it is, so I decided I had to share it.
I watched The Rachael Ray Show today and she made this soup. I just happened to have half a butternut squash in the fridge and decided to make the soup. Even though I knew no one else at my house would eat it. It worked out well for me to have this soup and make a frozen pizza for the boys. Kevin is out late helping Scott get caught up on some math at school and they are going to stop and grab something for dinner. Win win.
You’ll think win-win, too, if/when you make this soup. Here’s the link for Rachael Ray's Soup, but I made some changes, so I’ll write up my version for you. Can you guess what might be different from her soup? What? Did you say onions? Well, then you’re right. Rachael’s soup has two onions in it. And while I feel that I’m really branching out now and then when it comes to onions, I do not like when onions take over the whole flavor of something like butternut soup. I’ve tried a soup once and actually braved it and put the onion in and did not like the soup at all. It tasted more like onion soup with a little squash in it. But to each his own. I do have an aversion to onions and you might feel different.
That said, I did put one medium shallot in my soup—so there! ;) Here’s my recipe.
Butternut Squash Soup with Pepitas and Ground Pistachios, by Katrina, Baking and Boys!, adapted from Rachael Ray
half of a large butternut squash (or a small one)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
pinch or two of cayenne pepper (optional).
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium shallot, peeled and chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 quart (32 ounces) chicken stock
2 pinches saffron threads (optional)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pepitas, roasted—for garnish
1/2 cup pistachios, ground—for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut squash into chunks (about 2 inches pieces). Toss the squash with extra virgin olive oil, lay pieces flat on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and cayenne. Roast in oven for 30 minutes, until soft all the way through and the pieces are beginning to brown.
In the meantime, in a large pot (saucepan or Dutch oven), heat a little more olive oil and add the celery and carrots. Salt and pepper them and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the shallot and cook another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and saffron and saute another minute. Pour in the chicken stock and lemon zest and stir to combine. Let simmer over medium heat until the squash is finished roasting.
Add the squash to the soup and put through the blender in increments, you don’t want to fill the blender too full with hot liquid. You can also use a handheld immersion blender if you have one. Blend each amount until smooth and return all of it to the pot, simmer on low until ready to serve. Fill soup bowls with soup and garnish with pepitas and pistachios. Serves 4-6.
Rachael Ray mentioned that the pepitas and especially the ground pistachios make all the difference with this soup and I have to agree—it really added something and tastes fantastic. But if you don’t happen to have the nuts, don’t let that stop you from making the soup! You could also add a little cream once it’s blended, but it really doesn’t need it.
I can’t wait to have some more of this for my next lunch and/or dinner!