Squash is in season which means I can make one of my childhood favorite holiday dishes: Winter Squash Soup. For as long as I can remember, my mom made this soup during the holidays and sometimes after the new year (if I bugged her enough to do so). The beauty of this family recipe is that the basic ingredients stay the same but you are welcome to interchange what type of squash you want. Personally, I have used the acorn variety for years which I will undoubtedly use again this year. I will, however, make a batch of this deliciousness using butternut squash (my girlfriend’s favorite) as well.
Last night, I got the itch to have some of this great soup so I set off to make it. I already had made a batch of stock a few days earlier, so I knew I was good to go.
2lbs Winter Squash (acorn, hubbard, butternut etc.) halved and seeded
3 tbs unsalted pastured butter (I use Kerrygold)
1 medium onion peeled and coarsely chopped
1 tbs fresh sage chopped
pinch of ground allspice
1 small apple (I like gala) peeled, cored, and diced
6 cups chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper to taste
fresh lemon juice to taste
sea salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped walnuts toasted
Like any soup, you’re going to need to start with a good stock (broth). You can buy your chicken stock from the store, but it’s always better to make your own from scratch. There are many health benefits to making your own stock. Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites has a great post that covers many of these benefits including reducing cellulite. I found my method from the book ‘Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food’ by Catherine and Luke Shanahan. Sean Croxton, of Underground Wellness, has a great post here on the proper method to make a good chicken stock. In his post, he includes a video of him talking to Catherine and Luke via video chat while making his stock.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour 2 cups chicken stock in a baking sheet and place squash face down on the sheet. The chicken stock in the pan will steam the squash while it’s roasting and add a little more flavor. Place squash in oven and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool slightly.
While the squash is roasting, melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, sage and allspice. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Uncover. Stir in apple and remaining stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until apple is tender. About 15 minutes.
Scoop out squash pulp and add to pan. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Let soup cool slightly. Strain off all liquid and set aside for later use. Purée squash mixture in food processor or blender until smooth. Add purée back to pan and add liquid back into soup until desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with toasted walnuts.