I think karma is getting back at me for gloating about our great weather and beautiful strawberries last week. Remember that preview of summer? Well, yeah, it’s not here yet.
Today was pretty cold for southwest Florida. When we went out the door at 7:45 a.m. it was a chilly 51 degrees with an icy wind. OK, it wasn’t really “icy” but it felt pretty cold since I was dressed in shorts and sandals. Hey, I assumed it would be warm out like it usually is!
So, today just felt like a soup day. Granted, it wasn’t snowing, or raining, but I wanted something cozy for dinner. So I decided to roast some veggies then turn them into a soup. Not only would it warm the house up, it would use up the half a squash I had waiting around for me.
I know Butternut Squash soup may not seem that kid-friendly, but my boys really like it. It’s a bit sweet, and creamy and smooth. Think of it as a a sophisticated version of tomato soup. Plus, since it’s mainly vegetables, it’s high in fiber, has loads of vitamins, including A, C, B-6, and minerals calcium, magnesium and iron. It’s pretty low-fat and gluten free.
The original recipe called for baking the squash, then sauteing the onions, then simmering the pears. That seemed like too many steps, so I decided to bake all of them together in the oven. The results were great, and cutting the squash into smallish pieces helped it cook faster.
I love these Calphalon baking sheets, (that’s an affiliate link, by the way). My husband got them for me for Christmas, and I was skeptical at first, typically choosing the cheapest baking sheets I can find. The wide edge seemed silly when I first got them, but it’s great for grabbing the sheets to pull them out of a hot oven. The nonstick coating works really well, and things bake much more evenly than they do on my old beat up cooking sheets.
Just make sure you keep the onions together in chunks, some of the thinner pieces got too brown.
Once the veggies are tender to a fork, about 30 min, throw them in a soup pot with the broth and spices. Another change from the original recipe – it called for fresh ginger, but I didn’t have any and didn’t feel like going to the store in the “winter weather,” so I used dried. Generally speaking, you can use 1/3 the amount of a dried herb or spice in place a fresh herb or spice. Also, I used vegetable broth and a little bit of water, but chicken broth would work well too. And … I didn’t have enough regular curry powder, so I used Jamaican curry powder. Notice a trend here? If you don’t have what the recipe calls for, find something similar to substitute.
Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for about 15 minutes to let the flavors meld some. Then put the mixture in the blender and puree until smooth. You’ll want to take out the center cup of the blender lid to let steam escape. Cover it with a clean towel if you’re worried about splattering. An immersion blender would work well for this if you have one. I don’t, but that sure would make a great birthday gift (hint hint, husband).
Finally, add the half and half for a little bit of creaminess. You can add more if you want it to be extra creamy, I won’t tell.
We served this with grilled cheese sandwiches made with smoked provolone cheese that Grandma and Grandpa sent us from Green Bay, WI. It was a perfect cozy meal with just a bit of a twist. Gabriel ate half of his soup as soon as I was done taking the pictures, and the other half at dinnertime. Grayson, ever the efficient eater, drank his with a straw after I thinned it out with a little extra milk.
Whatever works, right?
What’s your favorite cold weather meal?
Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
1/2 butternut squash – about 1 lb total – seeds removed, cut into large pieces
1.5 Tbls unsalted butter
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 tsp dried ginger
1.5 tsp Jamaican curry powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 14.5 oz can vegetable broth + 1.5 oz water to make 2 cups
1 ripe Bartlett pear, peeled, cored, and cut into large pieces
1/4 cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Place the squash, onion and pear on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until the squash can be easily pierced with a fork. Try to keep the onion in big chunks as thin slices have a tendency to get burnt. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until the squash can be handled easily. Use a paring knife to remove the skin from the squash pieces and place all of the roasted vegetables in a soup pot.
Add the broth, butter, garlic, ginger, curry and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer covered about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Carefully spoon the soup mixture into a blender. (If you have an immersion blender, use it right in the soup pot.) Remove the center of the blender lid, cover with a clean towel to avoid getting spattered, and puree the soup until smooth. Add the half and half, mix again, then serve warm.
This recipe makes about 4 cups of soup.
Recipe adapted from Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup.