Baby it’s Cold Outside! Well, at least it is according to the lyrics playing through Alexa (name for Amazon Echo for those of you not familiar with it). December may bring in the chilly weather in other places, but here in Southern California we could still pop over to the beach and enjoy the warmish sun. For all of you shivering under your blankets, I would gladly trade you for one wintery Christmas. Winter weather makes me want squash soup, meat stews, hot chocolate, and maybe even a hot toddy or two.
It may not be too cold outside but our house, thankfully, maintains a nice chill even as the day warms up so I can cozy up in my sweater and pretend it is winter. During this time of year, soup is one of my absolute faves. It is warm, nutritious and feeds the soul. Remember, Chicken Soup for the Soul? A well-made bowl of soup can satisfy a hungry tummy and comfort the heart as well.
Soups are really only limited by your creativity and what ingredients you have in your fridge and pantry. Tomato, tortilla, lentil, split pea, chicken & rice. The list literally goes on and on. P icking a favorite is a touch call for me.
Butternut squash soup ranks up there as one of my favorite soups. For the most part, I get it. It has a lovely sweetness and it produces a silky, smooth texture. I recently discovered that butternut squash blends really well with other types of squash.
A few months back I received a new-to-me squash in my CSA box called Red Kuri squash. It is a darkish orange similar in shape to a pumpkin without the ridges. The flavor and texture for me lies somewhere between a pumpkin and butternut squash. It is also like the dark green skinned Kabocha squash, which is another favorite of mine.
Butternut squash and Red Kuri are PERFECT together. The Red Kuri mellows out the sweetness of the butternut while adding a rich earthiness. There is nuttiness to the Red Kuri that marries the flavors of the warm wintery spices. The thyme and rosemary are balanced with the cinnamon and clove. A dash of cayenne would add a wonderful warming touch to the soup if your palate can handle the heat.
I recently made this soup to take to friends for dinner in which we were celebrating her mom’s birthday. I was beyond delighted when her mom enjoyed the soup. For me, that is one of the biggest reasons for cooking. I love making people happy through a meal.
Soup is one of those comforting dishes like a stew that we all share. From one large pot with many or few ingredients, a meal is made and many bowls are served. Bringing my family together at dinner with this butternut and Red Kuri squash soup is why I cook. Watching my 3 1/2 year and 1 1/2 year old sons eat this soup and not realize they are eating vegetables is my victory for the evening.
Whatever you are eating, I hope you take a minute to relish having a meal together with your family or friends. And, if you are eating by yourself, that is OK. Enjoy the time and effort you put in to provide yourself with a nourishing and delicious meal.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!
Butternut and Red Kuri Squash Soup
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 red kuri squash
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1-2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
- olive oil as needed
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 24-36 oz broth vegetable or chicken
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp clove
- nutmeg grated
- cayenne optional
- 4 oz heavy cream
- Prepare squash. Cut both squash in half lengthwise and scoop out all seeds. Cut garlic gloves in half widthwise. Using one half clove per half of squash, rub the open end of garlic on the squash liberally and then leave clove in squash. Sprinkle each squash piece with thyme and rosemary. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast in oven at 400 degrees F until tender when pierced with fork. Usually about an hour depending on size of squash.
- While squash cools, warm large pot over medium heat.
- Pour in a couple tbsp. olive oil on pot. Once oil is hot, add onions and celery and cook until soft and translucent. Seasoning with salt as you go.
- Scoop out the squash (including the garlic and herbs) from its peeling and put into the pot with celery and onion mixture. Add in the cinnamon, clove, and grated nutmeg. Stir and let spices cook for about 1 minute.
- Pour in the broth until it just covers the veggies. I always keep extra broth or hot water on hand so I can add more if consistency is too thick.
- Let broth and veggies come to a boil and then reduce and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Using blender of choice, blend until a creamy texture. See Note.
- Put soup back on low heat and finish with cream. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
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