The coolness of the morning here in Richmond today reminded us that fall was not too far away. Many people were wishing they had decided to wear a sweater, or at least long sleeves. The nip in the air reminded people too, of hearty filling soups, full of flavor and the colors we associate with the fall of the year. No vegetable is more mindful of the season than butternut squash. It’s versatility and adaptability is well known to cooks everywhere. Used alone or in combination with other fruits and veggies, it is a wonderful addition to just about any meal.
We know that butternut squash has been cultivated in the America’s since the reign of the Inca’s in the 15th. century. It is no wonder that it found it’s way into the larders of the first American colonists. It is a very healthy vegetable, being rich in complex carbohydrates, and low in saturated fats and sodium. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, beta-carotene, magnesium, calcium and potassium.
Buying a butternut squash
Always look for a squash with a hard rind that is unbroken. Be sure you cannot stick your fingernail through the skin. If you can, it means the squash is not quite ripe, and it will not be as flavorful. Be sure it’s heavy in your hand, too. This means that it has a high moisture content. One squash is enough for the soup recipe, but you can buy 2 or 3 because they store well. Do not store in the refrigerator or at room temperature. They will go bad in just a few days. Store in a cool, dry, well ventilated place, and they will keep for several weeks.
Karen’s Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 butternut squash
- 2 Tabsp. olive oil, plus a little oil to rub on squash to bake’
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 teasp. ground cumin
- 1 teasp. curry
- 1/2 teasp. ground ginger
- 1 can (14 oz.) evaporated milk. Half-n-half is a good substitute
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut squash into quarters or smaller pieces and place on baking sheet. Lightly rub with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes or until squash is soft. Set aside to cool.
- Prepare broth in a large soup pot. Let simmer.
- Saute onion in the 2 tabsp. olive oil until golden brown.
- Add onion, cumin, curry and ginger to broth, stirring to mix well.
- Puree squash in a blender until pudding consistency, add to broth mixture.
- Add evaporated milk. Adjust the thickness of the soup using half-n-half if needed.
- Add salt and pepper, if needed. Taste first, though.
- Let soup simmer for at least 10-15 minutes to blend the flavors.
- Serve hot with your family’s favorite bread.
If any readers have some family recipes for fall that they would like to share, please email me at: [email protected],net. If you happen to have a picture, that would be wonderful.