I don’t know about you, but I still have quite a few winter squash sitting on my counter from the shares we received a few weeks back. Although I have a tasty butternut squash soup recipe, what to do with the acorn squash, sunshine squash, or sweet dumpling squash? Of course, one could always roast these. Or I’ve even seen a risotto recipe with squash (but that didn’t quite appeal to me). So, I decided to try my butternut squash soup recipe substituting the butternut with the sunshine squash.
But first let me give you a little history about the soup. I’m part Haitian. The traditional meal in Haiti for New Year’s day is pumpkin soup. It’s called Soup Joumou and is historically a tribute to Haitian independence from France. It’s chunky with all sorts of ingredients—it includes pumpkin, potato, onions, celery, carrot, cabbage, shallots, leeks, turnips, garlic, various herbs, and beef rubbed with lime. My grandmother used to add what she called dumplings that she made with flour and water —basically, this dumpling was like gnocchi. Today most people add store bought pasta. The final and probably most important ingredient was scotch bonnet chilies —as many as you can stand — they’re pretty hot but have a very unique flavor.
It’s a nice hearty soup, but I wanted to come up with a lighter and simpler version that still had some kick. So, coddling together my grandmother’s version with a few other ideas, I came up with a recipe for butternut squash soup.
After making it a few times, I find that the soup is just as good whether you have a thick soup, or use more stock for a more watery soup. One very important discovery over the years is that the soup is out of this world when I use homemade stock instead of store bought.
Homemade stock/broth is quite simple. If you eat chicken, just save any parts that you would normally throw away (i.e. heart, liver, bones, neck, wing tips) in a zip lock bag and throw it in the freezer. Do the same with veggie parts that you might throw away (i.e. green parts of scallions, onionskins, celery ends). When you are ready to make a stock throw your frozen chicken and vegetable parts into a large pot, fill the pot with water, add a little salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Once it’s come to a boil, lower the flame and simmer for two to three hours. And voila, you have homemade stock. If you are a vegetarian, the stock can be made without the chicken parts. Just add more veggie parts.
Now for the soup. Although I list my original recipe below, remember, this soup is very flexible. If you want it thicker or thinner, different herbs or spices, a different type of winter squash, or more or less spice, the soup will accommodate you. I love to eat have it with crostini (slice of country bread (or baguette) that I’ve roasted in the oven with olive oil; or another version of that is a slice of buttered country bread roasted in the oven with a nice cheddar).
Butternut Squash Soup
2 tbs olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium carrot, cut into rounds
3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 medium size butternut squash (cleaned and cut into large chunks)
5-6 cups of homemade chicken broth
1 scotch bonnet chopped (hot!) (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
1. Melt butter and add olive oil in a large pot
2. Sauté onion and carrot for about 7 minutes
3. Add garlic and sauté for another minute
4. Add butternut squash, stock, sage, rosemary, scotch bonnet
5. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes until squash is softened
6. Remove the rosemary stems from the soup.
7. Use a food processor, blender to blend the all or some of the soup (you may want to leave some chunks of squash in the soup)
8. Return the soup to the pot
At this point, you can leave the soup to cook down if it is too thin for you taste or leave as is. Serve hot with crostini.