The best thing about making soup is usually nothing is really set in stone. It is true that you will have to follow some of the basic rules of recipe building, but with soup, you tend to have quite a bit of flexibility. I find there is always a little bit of winging it as I fill the pot, but that is half the fun. Sometimes you may not have all the ingredients that you planned to use and you’ll need to get a little creative (thinking outside the pot lol). The final product may not turn out exactly as you thought it would, and that is ok. It’ll probably still be great.
With all that being said, here is the basic guidance for building yourself an awesome pot of butternut squash soup that will surely be appreciated by all on a cold, snowy January day. Disclaimer- This is NOT a canning recipe where measurements and ingredients must be exact so that you don’t accidentally end up with a bowl full of botulism. This recipe is intended to be eaten within a reasonable amount of time after making it, so you’ll find my measurements below are not overly specific. Like I said, soup making, unless you are making a commercial product for stores, doesn’t have to be exact. Soup is not an exact science, so take the leap of faith and just go with the flow. If you aren’t sure how much of what stuff, just guess. Trust me, at worst it will turn out edible, and at best, it’ll be so freaking fabulous that you’ll be licking the bottom of the bowl.
INGREDIENTS: Alright, less chat and more soup making, so let’s get to it. Here is what you will need (note* any of this can be substituted with a reasonable alternative ingredient):
- 1 regular sized butternut squash, or any other type of winter squash will work, although a sweeter variety is likely better
- Approximately 4 cups of liquid that resembles stock. I like to use 2 cups of home made chicken stock and 2 cups of water.
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 onion or shallot diced
- 2 garlic cloves diced
- splash of maple syrup (go with the real stuff, it’s so much better) Splash is about a table spoon or 2. It really depends on how sweet you want your soup
- 2 tbspoons of brown sugar
- A little bit of oil or butter (just enough to satay the onion and garlic)
- Salt and Pepper to taste. I never add salt but I do like a bit of pepper
Simple Steps to making a Souper Soup:
- Step 1: Turn on your oven to 350 degrees, cut your squash in half and remove the seeds. Place your squash face down on a baking sheet (I like to use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat so the squash doesn’t stick). Bake for about 20 minutes or until the skin is browning and is easily removed from the squash. You might want to leave it cool for 5-10 minutes before handling it as it will be super hot! Don’t skip the roasting step as roasting the squash brings out the natural sugars. If you skip this step, your soup will probably turn out okay’ish at best. When it’s cool enough to handle, remove the skin (I feed the skins to the worms in my vermicomposter), and chop the squash up into chunks.
- Step 2: In a large pot, satay the onions and garlic in the butter or oil until soft. Use the pot you are going to cook your soup in to save on dishes.
- Step 3: Add squash chunks, maple syrup, brown sugar and the 4 cups of stock liquid to the pot containing the onion and garlic. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. If your soup becomes too thick and is more like a paste than a soup, you should add some more liquid.
- Add the milk, salt and pepper to the pot and use a hand blender to puree the mixture until smooth. Keep heating the soup on low for about 10 more minutes. Be sure to stir frequently.
- Voila! Your Butternut Squash Soup is now ready for a lunch table near you. You can serve your soup straight up as is or get fancy with some garnishes and a dollop of sour cream or yogurt. Personally, I love a nice slice of warm fresh bread to go with my bowl.
So you may have gotten to the end of this recipe and are thinking to yourself, “that’s it? ” Here’s a secret. Simple is often better and some of the best soups are simple. Life is too complicated and difficult as it is without adding complex stressful soup making into the mix. A simple soup is a saviour on a less than stellar winter day when you want something that is warm and comforting, but don’t have time to slave away at a stove all day. Still, you don’t have to tell your tasters that it was ridiculously easy to make. Keep that secret. Don’t worry, I won’t tell. Have a Souper Saturday or enjoy it any day of the week. Cheers.