Thursday, September 15, 2011

Creamy Roasted Apple & Butternut Squash Soup Served in an Acorn Squash Bowl

When I woke up this morning, I had no intention on making this soup for dinner.  I really had no dinner plans, and soup was the last thing on my mind, seeing as we're having it tomorrow night.  As I've done so many times before, I opened the freezer and starred in at the stacks of frozen meat, vegetables, fruit, and frozen bread.  I have an obsession with buying different types of bread, and then freezing them for later.  I'm always afraid we'll run out, as if I couldn't just go buy more if we needed it, lol!  Anyway, I poured Emma a bowl of cereal, and as I reached across the table to hand it to her, my eyes met the butternut squash that had been adorning my table for the last 2 weeks.  It was magical, and I instantly knew that I would make butternut squash soup for dinner.  I have made a variation of this soup with pumpkin before, but never with butternut squash.  With my mind whirling with the glorious soup possibilities, I began to mentally plan the meal.  Next to the butternut squash sat 3 beautimous acorn squash'.  What could be better than a butternut squash soup in a bowl made from an acorn squash?  That pretty much screams "Hello Fall" to me!!!  I made a declaration at that moment that Fall would officially begin in my home and heart today.  I know I'm a few weeks early, but I have a confession...I bought 4 baking pumpkins at the store last night =)  Oh yes I did!!!  Okay, so enough of my yada yada...let's get down to business.

To begin with, you're going to set your oven for 400 degrees F, and then toss your butternut squash into the microwave for 5 minutes to soften it up.  While the squash is in the microwave, pour a tsp. or two of olive oil onto a baking sheet.  Once the squash is done, take it out and place it on a carving board.  Peel the skin off, and then grab yourself a big ol' sharp knife and cut it into cubes, making sure to discard all seeds and strings.  Place the cut squash onto the prepped pan, and then move onto your 2 cloves of garlic.  Peel your garlic, and place them on the pan.  Grab your medium sized onion, peel, and cut it into chunks.  Cut 1 sweet potato into small chunks and place them on the baking sheet along with the onion, and toss with 1 to 2 tbsp. of olive oil, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.  Now you're ready to place your sheet of veggies in the oven to roast for 40 min.

Grab 2 Fuji apples and core and peel them.  Cut them into medium size pieces and set them beside your oven.  You're going to want to stop your veggie timer half way through so that you can place your apple pieces onto the pan to roast with your veggies.  Roast for the remaining 20 min.

While your fruit and veggies are finishing their roast, let's move onto prepping our acorn squash bowls.  You're going to need some foil to make what I like to call "Foil nests".  Take a piece of foil and roll it up loosely from each end.  Once you're close to the center, make sure you leave a hole for your acorn squash to rest its booty on.

Set your foil nests aside, and grab those beautiful acorn squash, a serrated knife, paring knife, and your cutting board.  Lay your squash on its side and cut the bottom off with the serrated knife to create a flat surface.

Once you've done this to each of your squash, set them on their flat side, and grab your paring knife.  Holding the squash close to your body while still allowing it to sit on the cutting board, cut a circle (as best you can) out to create the opening of your bowl.  Pull the top off, and cut the pith (stringy guts of the squash) off with the serrated knife.  Repeat with each squash.

It's now time to scoop all of the pith (inside of the squash) out.  I used a stainless steel tbsp., but you can use anything that fits in there, and scoops well.  You definitely want to make sure to get all of the seeds out, as well as the strings, as they don't have a very good texture.

Meanwhile, your roasted fruit and veggies should be done, so now set your oven on 325 degrees F.

Now that you have the squash all clean inside, place each of them on the foil nests, and bake for 45 min.

Are you ready to puree!  Grab your blender or food processor and pour your roasted fruit and veggies in.  Pour 1/3 cup of vegetable broth in and pulse the mixture until it's smooth and creamy.

I added my sweet potato toward the end of the puree because I had one left over from dinner two nights ago, so it was perfect!

Transfer your puree to a big pot, and place it on the stove.  Cook over low heat, and stir in 1/2 c. of milk, 1/2 c. of heavy whipping cream, and 2 c. vegetable broth.  Whisk together, and grab your spices!  Throw in 5 dashes of cinnamon, 1 small dash of nutmeg, 4 dashes of pumpkin spice, and a generous amount of dried thyme.  Whisk it all together, place the lid on your pot, and let sit for 30 min allowing the ingredients to marry, and the soup to heat through.
By now your acorn squash bowls should be ready!  Yayyy, let's take them out and let them cool a bit.

Once the acorn squash are done cooling, and the soup is heated through, ladle the soup into the squash, top with brown sugar, and tear off some big chunky bread for dipping.  Voila!  Soup's on!!!!

*An additional tip for parents of infants taking baby food, or parents of special needs kids that only eat pureed food:

Take the left over squash bowls, cut out the roasted flesh, and toss it in the food processor or blender.  Once the squash is creamy, add the left over squash soup if you have any, and puree the veggies together.  Pour into small left over yogurt containers (the ones that come with lids), and freeze them until feeding time. This is a win, win situation.  Your child wins because it tastes good, and you win because it's chocked full of fruits and veggies.

Here's the Recipe:

  • 1 whole Butternut Squash (2-3 Pounds, Peeled, Seeded, And Chopped)
  • 1 whole Sweet Potato (peeled, Seeded, And Chopped)
  • 1 whole White Onion (medium)
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Pepper
  • 2 wholeFuji Peeled, Cored, And Chopped
  • 2 cups Vegetable Stock
  • 5 dashes of cinnamon
  • 4 dashes of pumpkin spice
  • 1 small dash of nutmeg
  • Generous amount of dried thyme
  • ½ cup Half-and-half
  • ½ cup Milk (whole Or 2%)

Here are a few pics of the peeps that enjoyed the soup tonight in my casa =)

Notice the pumpkins on the bottom right corner of the picture of Matt (click on pic to enlarge).  It is Fall, and I don't care what the calendar says, lol!!!

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