Butternut Squash Soup

Since it’s Sunday I know that some of you are wondering what Butternut Squash Soup has to do with football.  The answer is – nothing, but one cannot live by football food alone.  Believe it or not making this soup was all about needing a light and quick lunch (before football) and about needing to use leftovers.  I had half of a butternut squash leftover from the cassoulet and some pancetta as well.  I always have chicken stock in the freezer so I thawed some of that in the microwave.

To give you an idea how quick this soup is:  I left church at 12:05; came home; changed clothes; started the pot liquor for some collards; made this soup; and was on the couch eating at 1:05.  If you follow the steps here you’ll maximize your efficiency and minimize your dishes.

This is another dish you can think of as a template.  There are about 437,568 ways to make butternut squash soup.  Work with whatever you have and whatever you like.  Lots of people add carrots and apples to the squash puree.  Some people use bread crumbs as a thickener.  Add a chile if you want a little extra kick.  Add some mustard for a little tang. Use bacon instead of pancetta if you like.  Today I used squash, chicken stock, onions, ginger, molasses, salt, pepper and sour cream.  That’s it. Topped with crumbled pancetta.  For a soup as creamy as this one I don’t like it to be too thick. If you do use less stock or add some bread crumbs to thicken.  In a pinch you can use ginger snap crumbs.

I use an immersion blender (stick blender) to puree everything right in the soup pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender put half of the ingredients in a regular blender and puree. Dump that batch of soup in a pot and repeat with the second batch of ingredients.  If you make pureed soups even a few times a year it’s worth it to get an immersion blender.  You should be able to find one for about $20.  They’re small enough to store in a drawer and a lot easier to clean up than a big blender.  One tip – be sure of two things before you use your stick blender.  First, be sure the blender is on the bottom of your pot.  If it isn’t you’ll spew soup all over yourself and the kitchen.  It’s messy and it’s hot and it hurts – not that I would know this from personal experience.  Second, use a pot that’s larger than you think you really need.  A deep pot will catch the soup spew when you inevitably raise the blender off the bottom.

Good? Yummy, yummy!
Easy? And fast!
Good for Company? A beautiful first course for roast chicken or a pork tenderloin.
Special shopping? Nope, use what you got.

This makes two good sized servings.  Of course it’s easy to double for a larger group.

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients

1/2 butternut squash
2 slices pancetta
1/2 onion, diced small
2 C chicken stock, heated
1 tsp bottled minced ginger
1 tsp molasses
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp sour cream

Directions

1. Use a spoon to remove seeds and any stringy flesh from the squash. Place squash cut side down in a microwave safe dish. Add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish. Cover in plastic wrap. Microwave 10-11 minutes.
2. While the squash cooks put the pancetta in a pan. Cook until crisp.
3. While the pancetta cooks dice the onion.
4. Remove the pancetta from the pan and set aside to cool. Add the onions to that pan.
5. Cook the onions until they’re soft. 3-5 minutes.
6. When the squash is done remove it from the dish and scoop the soft flesh from the peel.
7. Put the stock in the squash dish and heat it in the microwave.
8. Add squash, stock, onions, ginger, molasses and salt to a soup pot. Puree with an immersion blender.
9. Add sour cream and blend one more time.
10. Top each bowl with crumbled pancetta.

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