This weekend, New York City got its first big blizzard of the winter and I was snowed in. I decided to take the opportunity to test a recipe I was noodling over for butternut squash soup. Typically, when I want to cook something new, I check out different versions of it on the web—usually FoodTV.com—mostly for cooking times and temps, and then adapt it to my own tastes. This butternut squash soup is dairy-free and you won’t miss the leche one bit—squash is super creamy and filling on its own and chicken stock (or vegetable, if you want to keep this totally vegetarian) is a great flavor-boosting liquid.
Two medium-sized (2 lb) butternut squash
1 yellow onion (sliced thin)
1 fennel bulb
2 garlic cloves (grated)
4 cups chicken stock
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash length-wise and remove seeds. Grease a baking sheet with a little bit of olive, lay squash inside up, and pierce each a couple times with a toothpick. Roast the squash for about 45-60 minutes or until (super) fork tender.
Cut the fronds off the fennel and slice the bulb into 1/4 inch slices. Lay these on a greased baking sheet as well and roast for 30 minutes or until fork tender.
While the squash and fennel roast, slice the onion thin and saute with olive oil, shaved garlic, and a little salt and pepper, until clear and tender. Set aside.
When the squash and fennel are done roasting, set the fennel aside, and either let the squash cool or put on a pair of cooking gloves, because they are HOT. Scoop out the insides of the squash into a food processor or into a soup pot, if you have a hand mixer. Add the fennel and onion mixture and about 3 cups of chicken stock. Blend until smooth, adding more chicken as it purees, adjusting texture to your liking. Heat the blended soup and then adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Personally, I like mine pretty peppery. I also think it would be super tasty with a dollop of goat cheese, but I haven’t actually tried that yet. Serve with toasted baguette!
Note: If you like your soup to be sweeter, you can omit the fennel and add nutmeg.