First time I encountered a butternut squash was after moving to the US. Every fall I would see piles of this oddly shaped beige vegetable in the grocery store. They were hard like a pumpkin, but didn't look like the pumpkins I knew from back home. Pumpkin was not something we cooked with in Denmark, at least not in my family. My mom had made pumpkin jam and sugar pickled pumpkin, but the recipes is long gone.
I got to taste a butternut squash soup at a friends house one Thanksgiving, and I kinda liked it, but I was on the sweeter side, and as I recall it, it had nutmeg or some warm spices in it.
I don't have to tell you, but I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie, but I will never pass on a Pumpkin Spice Latte. It must be the coffee that make me love it.
I like a fresher and lighter taste to my butternut squash soup, so I was delighted when I found a soup with few ingredients, including an apple, on CHOW.com. I made a few changes, and got a crisp fresh butternut squash soup, that even my squash-hating husband liked. He ranked it up with his favorite, spicy peach soup, so I must have hit something right with this soup.
Here is my version:
Serves 4 for dinner or 6-8 for an appetizer.
- 2 medium butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
- 1 small onion
- 4 fresh sage leaves
- 3 teaspoons chicken paste*
- 4 cups (about 1 liter) water
- 2 teaspoons salt or taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or taste
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- ½ leek, thinly sliced
- a few sugar pickled chilies
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220℃).
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash pieces cut-side up on the baking sheet. Brush them with about 1 tablespoon of butter all over the cut side. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast squashes for about 50 minutes, until knife tender and browned on the edges.
Melt the remaining butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple and onion, and cook while stirring until softened about 5 minutes.
When the squash has cooled somewhat, scoop the flesh out with a spoon into the sautéed onions and apples. Discard the skins.
Add chicken paste and water, and bring it to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer for about 15 minutes, until the flavors are blended. Season with salt, pepper and fresh sage.
Purée the soup in batches in a blender** until smooth. (You can also use an immersion blender.) Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
Serve the soup hot with your favorite garnish and a slice of good bread.
* You can use chicken or vegetable stock instead of the paste and water.
**Be careful when blending hot liquids, it can make the lid pop off, and you may risk getting serious burns on you skin. You can remove the small cap on you blender lid and cover the lid with a clean kitchen towel. You need to hold on to the lid and towel. This will let the steam from the hot soup escape and avoid the lid from popping off. You can also get blenders like the Vitamix, where you can blend hot liquids, without any hassle.