Winter Squash is quite an agreeable vegetable, if you ask me. Easy, easy, easy: to grow, to store and to cook.
I prefer butternut over other varieties. It is not bothered by much, except the occasional rodent or bout of powdery mildew (which doesn’t seem to harm it as much as it harms melons). In the absence of fall frost, the plants keep active and productive until I decide I have enough squash to last me until spring. Then it is a matter of pulling out the plant, curing the butternuts for a while where the sun can reach them, and storing them in an unheated room.
So far, so good, and it can be this good until the last squash is eaten in May. However, it is not always so. Some times–it just happened–I find out the hard way that I picked some of them too early, or maybe I didn’t cure them properly… or whatever, something went wrong. Today I found some of my butternuts shriveling, starting to shrink.
Oh no, I have to make soup now! I better cook them before they hopelessly rot away. I did end up having to send a couple to the compost pile, but I manage to salvage the rest of the shrinking squash and make a delicious soup in the process. Easy soup, just like the butternuts. Throw in it whatever you’ve got around in whatever proportion suits your mood, boil it for a while, blend it, serve it hot. Add a simple salad, dinner is on the table. OK, a slice of bread too, and some mandarins for dessert, of course, I’m not forgetting those.
I was lucky today, I had good stuff around. I made this butternut squash soup.
- Onion, sliced
- Ginger, finely chopped
- Broth: poultry, vegetable, or water
- Milk (or cream)
Take as much of these ingredients as you have at hand or as suits your taste. Substitute if needed, for instance, instead of ginger you can use chile, instead of lime, lemon or orange.
- Preheat over to 375°
- Cut the squash in half length-wise, rub the cut side with olive oil, place cut side down on roasting pan or cookie sheet and put it in the oven until it is soft to the touch (some 30 to 45 minutes). Line the pan with parchment paper if you don’t like scrubbing.
- Pour a bit of oil in a pot or pan and cook the onion until it is soft and has acquired some color (I did it in large pan because that’s what I reached for, and fortunately it all fit)
- Add the ginger, cook some more. You can caramelize the onion, but your soup will be very sweet. I didn’t do it, but if you’d like to accentuate and deepen the squash’s sweetness, it might be just right for you.
- Scrape the squash from it’s peel into the onion-ginger mixture. Stir.
- Add some broth or water, mix well. I had some duck broth in the fridge today, yay! Duck broth makes everything so much more delicious.
- Blend until smooth and silky. Use a food-processor, a blender, or, if you don’t want to transfer the soup into a machine and back, use a hand blender.
- Add some milk or cream, add water, whatever you need in order to get the consistency you like in a pureed vegetable soup.
- Season with salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.
- Serve very hot in unheated plates. The hot soup will cool down to perfect eating temperature upon coming in contact with the coldish plates.