Happy New Year! We had a wonderful holiday season visiting family and friends, and we are glad to be back home in our own beds. We brought the snow with us from Utah to Western Oregon, though, and they simply do not know what to do with it here. School is cancelled for the second day in a row when all that covers the ground is 1/2 an inch of slush! I just shake my head at the whole situation, really. And cry a little because I really want my kid, who missed school before the winter break because of illness, by the way, to go to school and spend some time finding entertainment and knowledge from someone who is not me. I know all you stay-at-home parents can feel me on that one, am I right?
Stuck inside with nothing to do but laugh at people who cannot function in wintry conditions, what's a girl to do?
Well, naturally, make soup is the obvious answer. I've been making this for over two years now and I can't believe I haven't shared it here yet. I've tweaked it and played with it until it comes out right every time. The trick is to start with less liquid than you think you need. Let the squash steam until it basically falls apart, then whiz it all up and add more liquid if you want it less thick. This is my favorite soup. Favorite. It is so easy, especially if you get the 2 lb. pack of pre-cut squash from Costco, as I often do. It's smooth and silky even if you don't want to add the cream, and so filling. If you want something on the side, it's great with cheesy panini. Or a salad, I suppose -- it's January, right? So I guess a salad. (But we'll all be dreaming about the cheesy panini while we munch down our greens.)
Butternut Squash Soup
2 Tbsp. butter
1 c. diced onion
2 lbs. butternut squash, cut into medium chunks
2 - 4 c. chicken stock
1/8 tsp. freshly-grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. cream (optional but highly recommended)
Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent. Add butternut squash and 2 c. chicken stock. Bring to a bubble, then reduce heat and let simmer, covered, for 15 or 20 minutes, until squash is so tender you can mash it easily with a wooden spoon. (Really, it should be disintegrating.)
Remove from heat and puree until smooth (I use my immersion blender, but you can use whatever you have on hand in the way of a blender or food processor). If desired, add more chicken stock to thin. Grate in nutmeg and add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, stir in cream and taste again. Adjust seasoning as needed. Enjoy!