Note: You may know Carolyn Cope as Umami Girl. She stops by on Tuesdays to help us cook through seasonal surplus with ease.
I'll be honest. I was a little hesitant to post a butternut squash soup recipe this week. You all are pretty sophisticated eaters, and there's a fair amount of puréed butternut sloshing around in the world every fall already. It's not like I'm going to convince anyone I invented butternut soup. It's no hairy gourd bread, I'll tell you that much.
Don't get me wrong. This is a really tasty soup, and it's unimpeachably nutritious. It boasts subtle, balanced flavors that are a refreshing alternative to the usual pumpkin pie spice. (Okay, fair enough, I'm the one boasting, but as my sister used to confound herself by saying, it's "six of one half, dozen of the other," am I right?) It's creamy. It's vegan. As its mom would say, it has a lot going for it. I just wasn't sure it was exciting enough.
But then I had a few of those days last week where the sky feels like it's cracking into giant, ugly shards and throwing them like javelins at your shoulders. And boy was I glad to have a pot of this soup in the fridge. I'd tell you how many bowls of it I've eaten in the past seven days and how many people I've shared it with, but trust me, it wouldn't leave a very ladylike impression. Let's just say it's a good thing for my karma that I'm sharing the recipe. Here's hoping the sky is listening.
Gingered Butternut Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, large dice
- 2 large stalks celery, large dice
- 2 large carrots, large dice
- 2 large boiling potatoes, peeled, large dice
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeded, large dice
- 2 medium apples, peeled and cored, large dice
- 1 two-inch piece ginger, peeled and grated with a rasp over a bowl to catch any juice
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- A few slices red chili
- 6 cups veggie stock, chicken stock or water*
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lime wedges for serving
- *If using water or unsalted stock, add one teaspoon of salt
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrots along with a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften. Add the potatoes, squash, apples, ginger, garlic and chili and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes more.
Add the stock or water along with a few good grinds of black pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the vegetables are very tender, 20 minutes or more depending on the size of your dice.
Remove from the heat and carefully purée with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, until very smooth. If you want a completely smooth soup, pass it through a fine-mesh strainer. Serve hot, garnished with lime wedges.