Written by Erin Walgamuth for KHTS.
During this very busy season, I like to have homemade soup in the refrigerator so my family can have a quick, nutritious snack anytime they are hungry. Below is a recipe for roasted butternut squash soup and a link to pureed vegetable soup. These soups are delicious, easy to make and use fairly inexpensive ingredients. They are versatile as well; you can serve them as an appetizer in small bowls or demitasse cups, as a starter to dinner or as your main dish.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- 1 butternut squash about 1 lb
- 6oz Olive oil for drizzling over cooked squash
- 1 tsp of course salt to sprinkle over cut squash
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 small shallot bulbs finely chopped which should equal about 2 ¼ tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup unsweetened apple juice divided into ¼ cups
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup milk or half and half
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cut, remove and discard stem end of squash. Cut remaining squash into approximately 1 ½ inch rounds. Remove and discard seeds (you can use a spoon to do this). Cut each round in half. Put squash pieces skin side down in a 13x9 inch glass baking pan. Pour 1 cup of water into the pan to cover the bottom. Drizzle olive oil over the squash and sprinkle with course salt. Cover the pan with foil and place on middle rack of your oven. Bake for 1 hour, remove the foil and continue cooking for 20 minutes or until very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove squash from the oven, cover with the same foil and let rest until cool enough to handle.
Put 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 6 quart soup pot, heat on medium-low until butter is melted. Add shallots, sage, thyme, and rosemary to the butter mixture. Sautee the shallot and herb mixture on medium-low until shallots are soft and slightly golden. Add ½ cup of apple juice, stir to combine. Turn off heat and let herb and shallot mixture rest while you peel skin off squash. Discard any orange stringy pieces from the squash. Put peeled squash into the pot with the herb mixture. Using a potato masher, mash squash into the herb mixture and add chicken broth, remaining ½ cup of apple juice and milk. Turn heat to medium and stir until well combined. Blend soup well, either with an immersion blender or in batches in your blender. The blender method can be a bit messy so I only fill the pitcher halfway and put a kitchen towel over the lid while in use (this will prevent any hot liquid from spilling out). Return the blended soup to the pot and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
Note: This soup is even better if made the day before you wish to serve it. It does have a tendency to thicken as it sits. I re-warm the soup on the stove top on low heat. Stir frequently and add small amounts of chicken broth if needed. Taste as you go, to much chicken broth can water down the wonderful flavor of the herbs.
Do not let the just-cooked squash sit out for more than an hour as it will become hard and somewhat tough. If you are not going to make soup until the next day; cook the squash, let it cool, remove the skin, place in a food storage container and refrigerate to finish later. You may also freeze the cooked squash for soup making at a later date as it will keep in the freezer for several months.
I like to fry whole sage leaves and place one in the middle of each bowl of soup. You can also top with pureed chestnuts or crème fraiche.
Erin Walgamuth  has been an assistant Food Stylist for television and print for the past 26 years and writes this column using her own recipes. Check out her other creations in our Hometown Recipe  section.