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King of Squash Soup
King of Squash Soup
Food for Fall
The cooler air is moving in and fall is here. Winter veg is reaching maturity, including-joy of joys-butternut squash. The king of winter squash has a nutty and sweet taste and when fresh, the delectable aroma of pumpkin. It is highly nutritious as it is a great source of many vitamins including C, A, E, and trace amounts of the B’s. It is a good source of fiber, and offers many minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Butternut squash has an interesting history. It is relatively new to the squash scene as it was developed in the mid 1940’s by a man who was neither famer nor scientist. Charles A. Leggett, previously an insurance officer, moved to StowMassachusetts to provide his ailing father with more time out of doors. With the amount of land he purchased he was able to experiment and cross several varieties of squash that would prove to be more portable to the market and still have a nice flavor. The name was given for the nutty flavor and buttery texture.
One of the nice things about the squash is its storability. Backyard Harvest by Jo Whittingham (one of my favorite gardening books) suggests picking mature fruit with plenty of stem if they are to be stored. The squash are mature when they have reached their full color and the stem has cracked. The squash should be cured before storage for ten days in the sun, outside if possible or indoors if the weather is inclement. Curing for ten days allows the skin to harden protecting the squash during storage. Once cured, Backyard Harvest recommends storing the squash under cover on straw or shredded paper. Properly cured and stored in a cool (around 50 degrees Fahrenheit) dark place, butternut will last for two to three months.
Once cut, squash can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. It can be dehydrated. It can be roasted and pureed and then frozen in recipe friendly portions. The squash can also be cut, laid on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and then frozen-once frozen the squash can be bagged and kept in the deep freeze and used in recipes year round.
This squash is highly versatile and can be used in sweet and savory dishes alike. On the sweet side, you can use the squash in place of pumpkins for pies. It can be used in baked goods like bread and muffins. On it’s own it can be roasted topped with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon for a sweet side dish or topped with salt,. On the savory side of cuisine it can be used in almost any recipe where you would use potato or zucchini. One of our favorite recipes is a bacon wrapped rabbit slowly roasted over a bed of onions, carrots, garlic, and butternut squash.
Out of all my favorite uses for this versatile squash, the soup recipe shown here tops them all. There’s nothing quite as cozy as a warm velvety bowl of King of Squash soup on a cool fall evening. It is filling, satisfying, and truly a comfort food. I hope you enjoy.
King of Squash Soup Ingredient PicturesClick thumbnail to view full-size
King of Squash Soup Ingredients
- 1 Butternut Squash, Large, Cubed
- 2 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock
- 2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 1 Yellow Onion, Large, Diced
- 2 Carrots, Large, Diced
- 2 Celery Stalks, Medium, Diced
- 1/2 stick Butter, Salted
- 8 Leaves Fresh Sage, Whole
- 4 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, Whole
- 8 Sprigs Fresh Thyme, Whole
- 2 Bay Leaves, Whole
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt
- 6 grinds Fresh Black Pepper
- 1/8 tsp Crushed Red Chili Flakes
- 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
- 4 berries Allspice, Whole
- 4 Green Onions, Sliced (Optional)
- 2 tsp Sriracha, (Optional)
King of Squash Soup Instructions
- In a large soup pot, melt butter.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, and salt to the butter.
- When the onions begin to look clear, add entire sprig (including the stem) of rosemary and thyme. Add whole sage leaves, nutmeg, chili flakes, pepper, and allspice. Cook until herbs are wilted.
- Add butternut squash to pan and cover with chicken stock.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer till the squash is squishy, about ten minutes.
- Remove herb stems and allspice berries.
- There are several options to blend the soup. You can use an immersion blender, or work in batches in a blender or food processor. Puree until soup is rich and velvety.
- If you used a blender or food processor, return the soup to the pan. On low heat, warm the soup through and slowly stir in the cream. Mix thoroughly--I like to use a whisk for this part.
- Serve warm in bowls. Garnish with green onion and drops or swirls of sriracha.
King of Squash Soup Cooking PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
King of Squash Soup Nutritional Values
|Serving size: 1|
|Calories from Fat||72|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 8 g||12%|
|Saturated fat 4 g||20%|
|Unsaturated fat 4 g|
|Carbohydrates 9 g||3%|
|Sugar 2 g|
|Fiber 1 g||4%|
|Protein 1 g||2%|
|Cholesterol 23 mg||8%|
|Sodium 229 mg||10%|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
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Sliced Butternut Squash
How do I cut this thing?
Before you go at the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler, pause a moment and read this first. There are easier ways!
The most common method, is to bake the squash first. This is simple. Turn the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half or in quarters for larger sizes. Roast the squash for an hour. Allow the squash to cool, then you can just scoop out the squash with a spoon or ice cream scoop. You can even do this the day before you plan to make soup, and refrigerate over night.
However, if I find this diminishes the flavor of the butternut in the final soup blend. It also takes longer. They way I prep the squash, is to slice it into medallions one to two inches thick. Then, I just slice off the peel, working my way around the medallions. Then I scoop out the seeds. I find this to be much quicker, and tastier.
A vegan friend of mine insists that the peel can be left on. I disagree entirely, and equate finding a piece of butternut rind to finding a piece of eggshell in a dish. The texture, to me is just too tough. To each his (or her) own though.
When you in were in gradeschool did you ever pour Elmer's glue into your hand, let it dry, and then peel it off? Cutting squash or cucumbers can leave an odd residue on your skin. It is typically not bad for you, but it can be difficult to remove. Some people even suffer from contact dermatitis from handling squash.
Pick butternut when they are fully ripe, and allow them time to cure before using. This will decrease the amount of "sap" the squash exudes, making things much easier on your hands. I have read in numerous places that this sap is actually a defense mechanism and wound healing property of the squash.
Wear vinyl or latex gloves when handling raw squash if possible, especially if you are unfortunate enough to suffer from contact dermatits. This prevents the problem completely. Once the squash is prepped the gloves can go right in the trash.
I have had good results by washing my hands with a paste made from a combination of dish soap, baking soda (about 1/4 tsp), and kosher salt (about 1/8 tsp). This will remove the squash sap (works well on motor oil and grease also) by acting as a mild abrasive. Then a good soak in warm water, such as when doing dishes, will finish removing the residue.
Remember to apply lotion when you are all finished and clean! Check out the links for a website with more information about what causes squash hand.
Butternut Squash and Your Hands
- Why Butternut Squash Hurts Your Hands | Backyard Gardening Blog
Many a gardener will grow butternut squash, and eagerly watch the fruits develop, counting the days, hoping they're not ruined by an early frost. Then harvest
Don't Waste Those Butternut Squash Seeds!
- Roasted Winter Squash Seeds Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Pumpkins aren't the only squash that yield tasty seeds for roasting! Next time you prepare butternut or acorn squash save the seeds and have yourself a nutritious little snack.
Backyard Harvest is one of my favorite gardening books.
© 2013 Vestanna McGuigan