My plan for last weekend was to visit my friend’s graduation from the MFA program we both attended (she was a semester behind me) and then catch a day of skiing at a local ski resort, plus a couple hours of cross country on MLK Jr. day, before getting back to grading essays. Boy did that plan fall through.
It’s funny to think of myself fretting on Friday about not getting any exercise for “one whole day.” I was on some kind of crazy regimen. I wanted to lose that weight I’d put on since August and I wanted to keep getting stronger and more fit. Maybe I couldn’t do the cross country marathons this year, but could start building a base. All day I was just go-go-go.
Then some pain began revising all my plans. A week later I’m feeling grateful it is not serious and that I have loving family members and friends who jump in to help me out when I need them. I do feel sad that it could be a while before I pick up my usual exercises (skiing and hooping), just when I felt I was hitting my stride, so to speak. But I think of my student who missed half the school year so far, bravely enduring six rounds of intense chemo. Puts things in perspective.
I decided that in addition to finishing up grades today, I’d embark on one project that would get me off my butt for a little bit. My dad (who left this morning) had peeled and cut the butternut squash. It felt good to make something tasty and soothing for myself. I am truly grateful for my dad and friends making me food, don’t get me wrong, but it was nice to do something for myself.
Plus there was an argument over this recipe. A chef friend told me that every smooth soup needs some fat–cream, butter, or oil–for mouth feel. I use little in this soup: olive oil to roast the squash and the olive oil spray to cook down the veggies. Additional fat probably does make some subtle difference. I think you can feel fats at the back corners of your tongue. Then you feel it drop like lead in your stomach. Or I do. So add cream or oil or butter to the recipe if you want, but I love it just like this.
This recipe might seem too close to the original post to deserve its own post. But I think it’s really that good as I’ve amped up the flavors.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- giant butternut squash, peeled and sliced lengthwise, seeds scraped out, and then rubbed lightly with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper
- medium onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, sliced into half moons
- 2 medium carrots, sliced into thin disks
- 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- 5 cups vegetable broth
- 1 TBS minced fresh ginger
- 1 TBS cider vinegar
- ¾ cup apple cider
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- salt and pepper
- Stick the squash into your oven on about 400 degrees for half hour to an hour, turning it at least once, until it’s soft and has a little bit of browning (I’ve done it at various temperatures and times–if you watch it and turn it, it doesn’t seem to mind)
- When the squash is getting towards done, in your biggest soup pot, spray the olive oil and warm over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and carrot with a bit of salt until the onions are translucent and the carrots are starting to get soft
- Toss in the garlic and cook, still stirring constantly, until fragrant
- Cut the squash into big chunks and add it and the veggie broth. Bring to a boil.
- Add the squash cubes, ginger, vinegar, cider, and spices and simmer covered for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and then very carefully, keeping the immersion blender fully immersed, blend until thoroughly pureed. (If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can also allow the soup to cool and puree in batches in your blender. Then pour it back into the pot to reheat before serving)
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If you’re using homemade veggie stock and you haven’t salted it a lot, you may find you need a significant amount of salt
About 6 servings