(For a smile: you must sing title, with John Denver on guitar, in your head.)
Meet Butternut Squash Soup. A perfect bowl of Fall sunshine. I really love this soup. And I really love how simple it is to make. And I really love that it contains no dairy.
That's a lot of love. For a soup.
When I learned to make this soup I had an epiphany of sorts. A "wow, I had no idea I could make such a great cream soup without any added dairy" moment. And I use this same method with all sorts of vegetables now.
Let's get into how it's done.
Here's your ingredient list: butternut squash, garlic, sweet onion, vegetable/chicken stock, kosher salt, ground pepper, fat for sautéing.
First, cut the "neck" from the "bowl"of your butternut squash. This is mostly for ease of handling. Peel both halves, either using your knife or a vegetable peeler. Scrape out all the seeds and stringy pulp from the bowl. Cut both halves up into small dice.
Mince up your onion and garlic. This is to taste, so you can decide how much you use. It will also depend on the size of your squash. Start by mincing a whole onion and then use what you want and save the rest. Maybe go with 1-2 cloves of garlic. These two are your "aromatics" and should only enhance the butternut squash flavor, not overpower it. Heat your sauce pan or stock pot, then add a little fat of your choice to prevent sticking. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, until the color starts to go transparent, then add the garlic. I like to salt and pepper my aromatics as they cook. When everything is soft and golden, you can add the butternut squash to the pot. You now want to cover the contents with stock. Use chicken or vegetable stock - just enough to barely cover the squash. Let this simmer until the squash is completely soft and cooked down, then remove from heat and let it cool down a little.
At this point you will either pour everything into a food processor or use an immersion blender to purée. Be careful on this step and vent your processor, if you can, to let steam out. I have a Ninja and just leave the pour spout cover ajar.
You are almost there! All that's left is a taste test and seasoning adjustment. I pour it all back in my pot and add a little kosher salt and ground white pepper. White pepper is milder and also it doesn't show up in the beautiful orange puree as little black flecks like black pepper can sometimes do. If you want to thin it out any, use more stock.
Here's my dinner after I had a tooth pulled....beer and corn bread optional. This is a very monotone meal - a salad would have been nice to contrast. I was just not up to it.
So that's all there is to it! It's so simple, so fast, that I bet you'll find yourself whipping up creamy fall soups all over the place. Oh, and the colors are so vibrant without the dairy muting them. A small cup of this soup before the main course at your dinner party is sure to impress!