Fall has firmly arrived here in Chicago, and that means that the offerings at the farmers market have radically changed in the past couple weeks. Right now, the choices pretty much consist of apples, winter squash, root vegetables and leafy greens. Luckily, all these fruits and veggies are pretty solid soup ingredients. I made a big pot of butternut squash soup today. I love this recipe because it freezes so well; if anything, the flavors get better. I try to double (or even triple) the ingredients, then divide it into one- or two-serving containers and have it on hand into the winter months.
1 small butternut squash
1 tablespoon of butter or 2 strips of bacon, diced
2-4 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Peel the butternut squash and scrape the seeds from the center with a spoon. Cut it into 1-inch cubes. (You need anywhere from four to six cups of butternut squash for the soup.) Grease a glass baking dish with cooking spray and arrange the cubed squash in a single layer in the bottom. Spray the top of the squash with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes (or until the squash is fork-tender).
Melt the butter or cook the diced bacon over medium heat in a Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the shallots, garlic and ginger and saute for about three minutes. If you’re using bacon, add these ingredients before the bacon is totally cooked so that it won’t burn.
Pour in the vegetable stock and the roasted butternut squash. Bring the mixture to a boil; let it boil for two to three minutes. Drop the heat to low and pour the buttermilk into the soup. Cook the soup, stirring constantly, for about two minutes, then remove it from the heat.
Use a food processor to puree the soup in three or four batches. Make sure to remove the spout cover from the hole in the lid so steam can escape. Cover the hole with a dish towel while the processor is on.