I love soup. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 8 days a week, and I’m pretty sure I did just that in my early 20’s. I was on a liquid diet in more ways than one. The husband wasn’t always such a fan, but he became a convert the first time I made him this divine butternut squash soup.
This recipe is basically fool-proof. I swear you can’t screw it up. Back in the stone ages when I was just learning how to cook properly, pureed vegetable soups were a godsend. Poor knife skills? No problem, it all gets blended to bits anyway. Over-seasoned? Fear not, just add extra veggies or more broth. This soup also freezes beautifully, easily doubles, is all kinds of diet friendly (vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whole30, low carb, low fat) and is easy on the eyes and on the budget. All kinds of #winning happening up in this soup.
You’ll note in the recipe that I’ve specifically called for chicken bone broth. If you’ve never made bone broth before, shame on you. I kid, I kid. But in all seriousness, it’s a must-try. Here is an awesome tutorial on how to make your own. You haven’t lived until you’ve had home-made bone broth, plus it has all kinds of amazing nutritional benefits that you’ll never get from
chicken-flavored-water boxed broth. If you’re going to make your own, do it up right – pony up the cash for at least an organic (but preferably pastured) chicken. Your taste buds will thank you, and so will I. Bone broth works so well here because the high gelatin content gives the soup a super velvety texture. It’s also a subtle savory offset to the butternut’s sweetness. And like I said, nutritional powerhouse. When you combine it with in-season squash and fresh herbs, you won’t need to take your vitamins for like, a day.
Consistency is key to taste, so you want to blend this soup to within an inch of it’s life. I love a handheld stick blender for its convenience and easy clean-up, but a standard blender also works well. If using the latter, allow the soup to cool slightly first and to blend in batches to prevent pressure build-up. Go forth and blend like crazy, because nobody likes chunks in their soup…unless those chunks are pomegranate seeds, and in that case, garnish away. Years ago, a friend tipped me off to adding pomegranate seeds. I, too, was skeptical, but I’ll once again ask you to trust me. Taking a bite of this sweet-savory manna from the gods and then getting a burst of pomegranate seed is transformative. It’s basically an antidote to seasonal affective disorder, and way cheaper than those daylight lamps. So crack open a pomegranate already and get to work. You’re welcome.
- 2 tbsp grassfed butter (sub olive oil for vegan)
- 2 medium leeks or 1 large vidalia onion, thinly sliced, diced, or roughly chopped
- 3 medium cloves of garlic, smashed
- 1 tsp rubbed sage
- 1 large spring of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 small butternut squash (about 2 lb each), peeled, seeded, and diced into 1" cubes
- ½ cup white wine (optional)
- 4 cups chicken bone broth (sub vegetable for vegan or vegetarian)
- sea salt, to taste
- fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- fresh sage, chopped
- pomegranate seeds, for garnish
- heavy cream, for garnish (omit for vegan)
- Using a 6-quart dutch oven, heat the butter over medium until it foams. Add the leeks or onion and cook until soft and just browning around the edges, stirring occasionally, 8-12 minutes. While the alliums are cooking, peel, seed and dice the squash (can also be done in advance, but will increase prep time).
- Once they are browned, push the leeks/onions to the side, add the garlic to the pot and cook, stirring continuously, until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Sprinkle the sage over the leeks/onions and garlic and cook, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute.
- Add white wine and deglaze the plan, stirring until the alcohol cooks off and the wine stops bubbling, 2-3 minutes. (If you are omitting the wine, use ½ cup of the vegetable or chicken broth).
- Add the squash, broth and salt and pepper to taste and stir all ingredients. Add thyme and bay leaf, increase heat to medium-high and bring the liquid to a boil. Then, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until the squash is soft.
- Discard the bay leaf and thyme. Add 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage. Blend all ingredients with a handheld stick blender. If the consistency is too thick, add water 1 tbsp at a time until desired consistency is reached. (I added about ¼ cup of water for a smooth, creamy finish.) At this time, taste for seasoning and add additional salt, pepper, or sage.
- Ladle into soup bowls, garnish with heavy cream, additional fresh sage and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately. Keeps for approximately 1 week.
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