It’s autumn – that time of year when the days get shorter, the air a little brisker, and the markets display all kinds and colors of winter squash. While, of course, we appreciate them for their beauty – and sometimes cuteness – they’re actually edible, delicious, and filled with nutrients and fiber.
This recipe for BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP is particularly tasty…and extremely low in calories! Bonus: it’s quick to prepare!!!
NOTE: Anyone who’s ever risked life and limb by attempting to slice through a winter squash, may have sworn off cooking with one. BUT…I have the answer: the microwave!!! (This, of course, may not work with a giant pumpkin.)
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP – makes 7 cups
- 4 T butter
- 2 shallots, minced
- 3 lb butternut squash
- 5 cups water
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar (dark or light – I use dark)
- 1/2 cup cream
- optional: Cinnamon Croutons (recipe follows)
Thoroughly wash butternut squash. Place whole in microwave and cook 3 minutes. (Don’t bother piercing it – it won’t explode.) Flip it and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and let cool. Once it’s cool enough to handle, cut off the head, then slice through it, exposing the seeds. (Yikes! This sounds ghoulish!!!) Scrape out fibers and seeds and set aside.
In a large stockpot (such as a Dutch oven), melt the butter. Add in shallots and sauté on medium 4 minutes. Add in the seeds and fibers. Sauté another 4 minutes on medium. Add in the water and salt, bringing to a boil. While liquid is heating, slice the squash (unpeeled) into chunks. Place them cut side down on a steamer basket. When the liquid has come to a boil, drop in the steamer basket and cover. Decrease flame to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove basket from liquid, letting squash cool enough to handle.
Place a strainer over a container and pour liquid through it. Discard seeds and fibers. Once squash is cooled, scrap squash from its peel, discarding peel. Put squash into a blender and add enough of the liquid to purèe squash. (Depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in batches.) Empty purèe into the now-empty stockpot. Add in brown sugar and cream. Heat over medium to just before boiling. Taste for seasoning.
CINNAMON BREAD CRUMBS
- 2 slices white bread – good quality
- 1 T butter, melted
- 2 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
Remove and discard crust from bread. Cut slices into 1/2″ cubes and place in bowl. Mix in sugar and cinnamon, then stir in melted butter.
Pour onto cookie sheet and bake at 350º F for about 8 minutes, stirring midway.