I’m lying in the title.
The soup I’m sharing today is really one of those “framework recipes” to help you craft a soup that is just exactly how you like it.
We’ve enjoyed a simple, creamy butternut squash soup that’s a little spicy, and we’ve also tried the roasted garlic base, which of course becomes the main flavor. But the roasted garlic is technically, optional.
I know. It’s in the title. Stuff in the title shouldn’t be optional, but it’s my recipe and my blog and I can do what I want with it.
That’s kind of the point – you can do what you want with this, too.
It’s even possible to skip the butternut and use a different squash, and I suppose the creamy part is optional as well.
I just didn’t think “Soup” would be a very catchy title, you know?
We could call this “Build Your Own Autumn Pureed Orange Soup” – what do you think?
(Oh, one more confession – no one in my family likes mushy orange vegetables, so I serve this when my in-laws come for dinner and they love it. I was using “we” in the sense of the royal “we,” meaning I really enjoy this soup, and I particularly love how simple it is to put together and shift the flavors. I hope you don’t leave me because of all these little untruths!)
Although an immersion blender is mighty helpful for a pureed soup, that’s not what I mean by blending recipes.
When I decided I wanted to make a squash soup last fall, I trolled the Internet for yummy sounding recipes. Believe me, there’s no shortage of squash soup options. Here’s what most of them have in common:
- chicken stock (I only use homemade)
- salt and pepper
For a squash lover, pureeing those 3 things would probably make a decent side soup. For the rest of us who want a little something culinary, many recipes also include:
- a creamy addition: milk, cream, cream cheese, yogurt, or sour cream
And if you want some flavor other than onions (which do impact the soup a great deal, so skip them if you don’t love onions), here are all the options from my many open squash soup tabs:
- roasted garlic
- fresh or dried ginger
Creative minds, can you already start pairing up some of the options listed to create a fascinating soup? My next try will probably have leeks involved, because they will be green and gorgeous on the orange background, and I think I’d like the milder flavor of leeks in place of the stronger onions. I bet you could also use green onions in place of the onions to let the other flavors come through with more intensity.
Looking for more soup recipes? You won’t want to miss the eBook Winter Soups, a compilation from over 50 real food bloggers. I truly enjoy having this book in my collection for all the great new ideas. Check it out here.
Some of you are probably feeling like a kid who’s always colored in the lines and is suddenly handed a blank sheet of paper and a paintbrush – a little unsure of the vast expanse and wanting a picture to give some direction.
Don’t worry, this post will have an actual recipe for you!
For those whose creativity has just blossomed out all over the keyboard, well – wipe that mess up, grab a scrap piece of paper and craft your own squash soup recipe for the menu plan next week.
For the rest of you, here’s –
Enjoy the flavors of autumn in this versatile soup – be sure to try other flavor options once you get the idea. This recipe serves 4, barely, for a main course with bread and salad, but as a side soup, it serves 6-8. It will freeze excellently, so double for leftovers.
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 Tbs. butter
- 3 c. pureed butternut squash*
- 3 c. chicken stock
- ½ tsp. paprika
- ¾ tsp. cumin
- shake or two cayenne, to taste
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1/2–3/4 tsp. salt
- (optional) 4-6 cloves roasted garlic, about half a bulb
- 1 c. whole milk**
- serve with Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Saute onion in butter over medium heat for about 5-10 minutes. (Include any other veggies here.)
- Add seasonings, including optional roasted garlic, and stir for a minute, then add stock and squash.
- You can puree first with a blender (process the chicken stock and squash and leave the onions diced) or use an immersion blender directly in the pan once everything is hot.
- Bring to a boil and stir well. Cook for 10-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat (or turn to low) and stir in milk.
* You can roast a squash by halving it, de-seeding, and placing facedown in a casserole dish with a little water (about 45 mins on 400F) or cut it into cubes and boil for 20 minutes. If you are making the soup right away, you don’t have to puree it first – just whiz it up as part of the soup and eye up the quantity. Feel free to use any autumn squash you like.
**For the one cup “creamy” ingredient, feel free to use any combination of milk, cream, cream cheese, yogurt, or sour cream.
+ See the original post for other seasoning ideas.
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How to Roast Garlic
If you’ve never roasted garlic, you should know two things:
- It’s super easy. VERY.
- It is a totally and completely different flavor than regular, raw garlic, especially in soups. This garlic soup is literally two different soups, depending on whether you roast the garlic or not. My husband likes it one way and doesn’t care for it the other, in fact!
To roast garlic, you simply slice off the top and bake at 375F for 1 hour. Some will say to wrap it in aluminum foil, but it’s not necessary. In fact, for this recipe, I just stuck the whole bulb on a toaster oven cookie sheet and popped it in at the same time as I was baking healthy pumpkin muffins the day before.
I just put the whole thing in a baggie in the fridge and it was zero extra work. In fact, roasted garlic is easier to prepare for a soup than crushing four or five garlic cloves. It’s all mushy, so you just squeeze out the garlic kind of like toothpaste.
Half a bulb is perfect for this soup, an the other half is waiting in my freezer for another opportunity.
To incorporate roasted garlic into the soup, just add it with the spices and mash it around. I used a half cup milk and half cup sour cream, and the flavor was just amazing.
What are your favorite flavors to pair with autumn squashes?
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