Josh is a huge fan of any soup. OK, not quite any soup (red pepper millet soup didn’t quite make the grade) but pretty darn close to it. It’s a hard say what’s his favorite, but this butternut soup is pretty close to the top of his list.
Squash soups are great in the winter. I came up with this variation a week or so after Thanksgiving, when I was trying to use up a big bag of leftover crushed pecans. That first attempt tasted a little too much like pumpkin pie for my liking, so I nixed the nutmeg and cinnamon on later versions. Below is the version we had last night, which went wonderfully with paprika chicken for a winter night’s meal.
- 1 large butternut squash (about 2.5 lbs)
1 cup crushed pecans
1/2 small onion
2 quarts water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 cup milk
Slice the squash lengthwise, remove seeds, and place face-down in an oiled baking dish. Oil the skin as well and bake in a 375 degree oven for about an hour. The squash should be soft to touch, and the skin should be browned. Set aside until it is cool enough to handle.
Scoop out the squash flesh and place it, along with all the other ingredients except the milk, into a large pot. Bring to just under a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. A note on consistency: 8 cups of water may seem like a lot, but it’s really not; my 2.5 lb squash yielded 3 cups of flesh, plus a cup of pecans–that’s 2 cups of liquid per 1 cup of solid. If your squash seems very watery, or you prefer a thicker soup, go ahead and reduce the water by up to a cup. I prefer something thinner (it’s soup, after all, not puree).
When 30 minutes have passed, blend your soup in small batches (careful, that soup is hot!) until smooth, and then return to a pot. Adjust seasoning, if necessary, then add the milk just before serving.