Fall sweeps into Chicago quickly, but it’s also pretty fickle (you know, the kind of fall where you have rainy 50 degree days but also still some 70 degree days, although I think those are fading fast) and I am so ready for fall foods! I have been feeling soups lately and think it’ll be a season of lots of soups at our house, so I got started this week with a Butternut Squash Soup.
My mom was never someone that would follow a recipe and to be honest, it used to drive me crazy! I’m starting to understand the beauty in it and soups are probably the easiest place to get away with not having a recipe. So here is my best interpretation of the soup that we made. It’s incredibly flexible and soup is so forgiving, so if there is something that you want more or less of, or if you have some veggie leftovers in your fridge, throw them in! Every variation will be slightly different but all excellent!
Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 cups carrots, peeled and cubed
5 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cumin
1 cup coconut milk
- In a large pan over medium heat, saute the onions and garlic until fragrant and clear, stirring frequently for approximately 3-5 minutes. Add the turmeric and cumin and stir for 1 minute.
- Add the butternut squash, sweet potato, and carrots. Add chicken broth (there is definitely leeway here – make sure that the vegetables are fully covered in broth. If you prefer a thinner soup, add more broth; if you prefer a thicker soup, add less broth) and stir. Add salt and pepper
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with a lid on the pot for approximately 35 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat. Remove center from blender lid to allow steam to escape. Divide the soup into two batches and blend each until smooth. Combine blended soup in a large bowl.
- Add coconut milk and stir to incorporate. Option to add additional salt and pepper to taste.
I topped the soup off with some homemade croutons and pepitas for a little crunch. To make the croutons, simply dice bread of your choice (1-2 days old, and a little hard will be best). Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic (or any seasonings of your choice) and roast on a pan in the oven at 375 degrees for approximately 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through. Good news, once the croutons have cooled, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (if you can keep them that long!).
And ta-da! You have an easy, interchangeable soup (and croutons) recipe that you can always pull out of your back pocket. The beauty is that it will be different every time (try it with different veggies, or different spices – a sweeter nutmeg / cinnamon version would be nice, or you could go with a more savory version and add celery and bell peppers). It’s perfect for those cold, rainy Saturdays or if you’re looking to make a week of soup to have with sandwiches for lunch.
Another tip – if it’s just me and I don’t want to eat a whole pot of soup over the course of a week, I will freeze it in muffin tins. Once frozen solid, you can pop them out of the tin and save in a freezer bag. I’ll then reheat 2-3 “pucks” for a hot bowl whenever I want one!