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Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Post: Christine's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Hi everybody!  My name is Christine my little blog is Christine's Kitchen Chronicles.  As I'm sure you're aware, Alicia is busily loving on her new bundle of joy so blogging isn't exactly at the top of her list of "to-dos" right now.  So, when she posted a request to a cooking message board that we both frequent looking for folks to help out, I figured why not.




So, a bit about me.  I'm a scientist for a consumer products company by day and food enthusiast...well...all the time, frankly!  Other than cooking my hobbies include spending time with my husband Chris (yep, Chris and Christine...how cute, right?), friends, family, and beagle furbaby Toby.  I also love to travel, dabble in the occasional painting, and am pretty much addicted to Jazzercise (it's totally exercise in disguise and I have to balance all my eating with something!).  







I started my food blog over 2 years ago as a way for me to share recipes with my friends and family.  I NEVER used to cook (which was shameful coming from a family of restaurant entrepreneurs and chefs!) but after getting married, I guess you could say I finally had the need to be "domesticated".  I'm amazed how my blog has grown through the years and am humbled by the fact that I have worldwide readership and some of my recipes are even in the Top 10 Google search results.  




Overall I'd describe my cooking style as eclectic.  I cook a little bit of everything from easy weeknight meals to drool-worthy challenge "projects".  Part of my philosophy is that I rarely cook the same recipe more than once no matter how good it may be.  There are just way too many new ones to try!  For the past two years I've been part of a couple different CSAs in Southwest Ohio and it has been fun trying different recipes with my vegetables.  That's where this recipe that I'm choosing to share with you comes from.  It uses the best of the CSA season, comes from my personal 23 Things in 2011 challenge list, tastes gourmet, and yet is surprisingly simple to make.




Thanks Alicia for featuring me as a guest poster and I hope all of you enjoy and will come visit me on my little corner of cyberspace in the future!







Why oh why was I ever intimidated by butternut squash?  The skin of this squash was much softer than I expected and the shape, once you prepare the ends of the squash, didn't make it difficult to cut either.  I was extremely excited to see this butternut squash show up in my weekly CSA share last week because I knew that meant that I'd have no choice but to face my fear and make something with it.  Even better was it allowed me the opportunity to check another item off my 23 Things in 2011 list.  Double win!



To get the most delicious combination of flavors I decided that I wanted to combine aspects of two different recipes.  I knew that roasting the squash first would bring out its delicious natural flavors better than boiling would.  I also thought that adding apple could bring a new dimension of flavor (and nutrition) to the soup.  Cayenne pepper would bring an unexpected small kick of heat.  And finally, real butter is infinitely better than margarine and a touch of low fat cream cheese would literally smooth out the flavor and texture.  The result?  PERFECTION.  I simply could not get enough of this soup!



I love the flavor and texture of butternut squash and am so excited that I am no longer intimidated by the preparation of it because now the possibilities are endless.  Do you have other recipes to share featuring this lovely squash?  If so I'd love to try them!




Roasted Butternut Squash Soup







Yields: 6 servings




Ingredients



  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 medium (2 pounds) butternut squash
  • 3 cups reduced sodium chicken broth (substitute vegetable broth to make it vegetarian)
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 oz low-fat cream cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Directions



  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Cut both ends off the squash then cut it in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place squash on a large baking sheet flesh side up and roast in oven for 45 minutes to an hour or until soft.  Peel and chop the squash.  Set aside.
  2. While the squash is roasting, in a large sauce pan, boil onions and apples in broth with marjoram and cayenne pepper.  Simmer for 20 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add chopped squash and low fat cream cheese to the sauce pan and puree all ingredients using an immersion blender.  If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer the contents of the sauce pan and squash into a blender and puree until smooth then return to sauce pan to heat through.  Do not allow to boil.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If desired, add more water or chicken broth to thin the soup until it reaches your preferred consistency.  Serve hot.



Source: Adapted using a combination of Use Real Butter and All Recipes.

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