family dinner

Like my recent bean posts, today we’re talking about discovering new foods on my journey to be a Less Picky Eater. You say picky, I say vegetarian. Tomato, tomahto.

There are people who think they are not squash people. I did not grow up a squash person, only the occasional zucchini—which, I’m sorry, hardly counts. It was only three years ago I ventured into acorn squash (halved and roasted as cheesy basmati bowls), butternut, and mostly recently spaghetti squash.

I love that you can purchase butternut squash pre-cut in the grocer’s deli section (it makes this recipe a breeze). Despite my sharpest knife, I have nearly severed limbs attempting to break into that son-of-a-gourd. A few dollars more, this is true, but I find the cost of pre-cut butternut squash absolutely worth the 20 minutes, tears, and blood loss that accompanies the raw gargantuan gourd.

This is a spectacular, I mean truly remarkable soup worth adding to your repertoire. There are few dishes I make twice (too many new recipes bookmarked!), and this has already become one of them. It has two steps—roasting and blending—six ingredients, and can feed a grateful crowd without a drop of sweat on your end.

I recently served this for the entire family to accompany my favorite asparagus ravioli in brown butter sauce. Andrew does not consider himself a fan of squash or mushrooms, but he always gobbles this up with compliments to the chef (c’est moi). Pops, also not a known for a squash preference, took home the leftover soup! As Kramer would say: Oh mama.

Roasted Squash Shittake Soup

adapted slightly from Martha Stewart, serves 4 as an entrée, 8 as an appetizer

2 3/4 lb. butternut squash, pre-cut into 2-inch pieces

1 onion, peeled and quartered through the stem

4 shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps wiped clean with a paper towel

4 small garlic cloves, unpeeled

olive oil

5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock (I love Pacific Organic)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine squash cubes, onion, mushrooms, and unpeeled garlic on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with enough olive oil just to coat (about 1/2 cup) and 2 teaspoons salt (sea salt or Kosher). Toss and spread in a single layer. Divide onto two baking sheets if needed; there should be space between all the vegetables or they will steam and not brown.

Roast until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, about 30 minutes, rotating pan and tossing vegetables halfway through. Let cool, then remove skins from the garlic by squeezing out the pulp.

Transfer vegetables to a medium saucepan; heat over medium. Pour in 2 cups stock; puree with an immersion blender until smooth (or you can do this in an upright blender, transferring the veggies straight from the oven to the blender).

With the blender running, slowly add remaining 3 cups stock, and puree until smooth. (If serving later, refrigerate in the pot at this point). Bring soup just to a simmer. Remove from heat, and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm.

A brief bit about broth: I used vegetable broth upon the first trial of this soup, and while I usually do not prefer the flavor it did work well here. I used chicken broth on the most recent batch, and while the different was subtle, I preferred the vegetable broth. Moral of the story, use either.

For what soup was your grandmother best known?

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6 Comments

Filed under dinners, health, techniques, the basics

6 responses to “family dinner

  1. Looks like dinner will be great tonight:)

  2. Kris Etze

    Lots of people are not squash people. I think it is carryover from childhood trauma of summer squash cooked to death! Lol I dislike peeling and chunking winter squash, but finding freshly cut squash is a challenge. I cut off the top and bottom of the butternut first, and then separate the top from the bell. Using a sharp peeler like OXO or ceramic, I make short work of the peel. Then I cut in half, slice into strips, and chunk away! The key is a GREAT peeler. My fave is an OXO Y Peeler .

    • Kris,
      I love this Peeler and have tried it on butternut. Honestly, it’s still cutting through that has me slipping all over the place, even with a damp towel beneath the cutting board. Precut squash is not available year-round, and as you pointed out not everywhere, either! However, I do hope the convenience of pre-cut veggies may take some intimidation out of cooking. There are few places where the added cost of pre-chopped is worth it, but in my mind, butternut squash is a worthy exception 🙂

  3. Rachael Marie

    Hi Linds!
    Jim and I have been on a homemade soup kick all winter with tasty, tummy-pleasing results. This recipie looks and sounds incredible, a real must-try for our own humble kitchen. Good idea w/ the broth and, like you, I may stick to veg as its, of course, a meat-free dish. Also, it seems like it would be a filling dish on its own…or at least for lunch. Heh, I remember the squash/ gourd dinners of my childhood. For a while I did wonder why we were eating Thanksgiving decorations….Anyway, look forward to more amazing culinary creations! Rx.

  4. Alice

    I was part of the lucky family to enjoy eating this soup, and it was truly delicious! I have had less flavorful butternut squash soup, so I was a bit skeptical when it was served. Fortunately, I enjoyed this much more than what I’ve had previously and this is the only recipe I’d use if making it myself. Thanks!

  5. Pops

    First time I ever had squash soup and I must say it was excellent. I did not share the leftovers with your Mother. If I marry your Mother again in a future life, I’ll have to remind her to make it for me.

    Love Ya, Pops xoxo

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