Sunday, October 17, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

  This is one of the best new things I have made in quite a while!  Seriously.  Yes, people are often biased towards their own cooking, but occasionally you are totally blown away by something.  Nothing wildly original or terribly creative, but so, sooo good!  It is smooth, rich, creamy, and healthy.  The soup overall has very little fat and cholesterol, has a decent amount of vitamin C, and is overloaded with vitamin A.  A great comforting pick-me-up on a chilly fall day that won't make you feel guilty.  I am going to be stalking the local farmer's markets for the best squashes in the coming weeks.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 med butternut squash; peeled, deseeded, and cubed (1" pieces)
2 med carrots, peeled and chopped (roughly 1" pieces)
1 med onion, largely chopped
2 lrg cloves garlic, in natural paper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
3-4 C vegetable or chicken stock
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp thyme
2 Tbsp light cream cheese (omit for vegan option)
6 lrg crimini or button mushrooms, sliced (optional)

   In a roasting pan, place squash, carrots, onion, and garlic.  (All pieces should be roughly equal in size, no need to separate onion layers if they stick.)  Coat with olive oil.  Liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake at 350 deg F for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min. (Vegetables may be roasted 1 day ahead.)
   Cool slightly.  Remove paper from garlic cloves.  Place in food processor or blender.  Add 1-2 C stock.  Puree until smooth.  (Amount of stock will vary depending on the power of your appliance.  An immersion blender will work too; do that in a deep sided pot.)
   Pour puree into a pot.  Add more stock until desired thickness is reached.  Add cumin and thyme.  Heat over medium.  5-10 minutes before serving whisk in cream cheese.  (The body and texture the cream cheese add is really fantastic!)
   OPTIONAL:  Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over med-high.  Add sliced mushrooms.  Caramelize.  Use to top soup.

Serves 4.  (But you may want to make a double batch... esp you are feeding some big eaters!  And it is great left over.)

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