Now that the weather is getting cooler, it is time to think of warm, robust and comforting foods. And what better way to start other than with soup? There are countless varieties available in cans, packets, and what not. But, soup just might be the easiest thing to put together.
Most people like soup. I love it, in all the different varieties. Chicken noodle, Chinese hot and sour, cream-of-anything soup – bring it on. My hubby, not so much. But he absolutely loves this one. It is really the only soup (other than chowder) that he will eat.
I made some butternut squash soup last week, as we were all battling a rather nasty cold. I made it extra spicy and let the soup work its magic. Worked like a charm in making me feel better.
This soup can be made with butternut or acorn squash and really any other vegetable you have on hand. Simmer the veggies in stock for a while, blitz it in the blender to create a naturally creamy concoction and have it as it is, or add a dash of heavy cream or sour cream. Coconut milk would work well too, if you are looking for a dairy-free option.
And of course, I just had to Indianize it with cumin, red chili, cloves and cinnamon. Feel free to leave these out if you don’t have them on hand or if you want a milder soup.
I also have a shortcut method to easily chop butternut or acorn squash. Read on to find out how to
avoid a trip to the ER easily chop a tough squash.
You will need:
- Oil or butter – 2 tbsp
- Red chili flakes – 1/2 – 1 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Whole spices – 2 cloves, a 1-in piece of cinnamon, 4-5 black pepper corns (optional)
- Dried oregano leaves – 1/2 tsp
- Onion – 1, roughly chopped
- Ginger – a 1-in piece
- Garlic – 1-2 cloves, crushed (I used garlic flavored stock too, you can use more garlic if you are using regular stock.)
- Carrots – 1-2, roughly chopped
- Tomato – 1, roughly chopped
- Butternut squash – 1, cubed
- Chicken or vegetable stock – 2 cups
- Water – 2 cups (You basically need enough liquid to comfortably submerge the veggies and then some.)
- Salt – to taste
- Cracked black pepper – to taste (if you are not using whole black pepper corns)
- Heavy cream or coconut milk – a few tablespoons (optional)
- Other stuff that would work well are a few stalks of celery and a few leaves of cilantro
- Some sort of garnish – roasted seeds, sour cream, shredded cheese, etc
How to chop a butternut/acorn squash easily:
- Wash and pat dry the squash. Poke it in a few places with a knife or fork.
- Pop it in the microwave. A medium-sized butternut squash needs about 2-3 minutes.
- Cut off the top and bottom ends. Slice it in half, and then in quarters. Scoop out the seeds and use a sharp knife to cut the skin. The microwave treatment should make this step really easy.
- Chop the flesh and use as required.
Soup – How to:
- Heat butter or oil in a large pot. Add the cumin seeds, red chili flakes, oregano and the whole spices.
- Add the onion, ginger and garlic. Saute till the onions are translucent.
- Add the carrots, tomato and squash and saute for a minute or two.
- Add stock and water and bring to a brisk boil. Reduce the heat and simmer till the veggies are tender (20-30 minutes, just check once in a while.)
- Cool it a bit and blend everything together. You could strain this mixture to make a pure orange-ish soup, but I don’t mind the odd flecks of spices in it.
- Return to the pot and season. You can add cream or coconut milk now, to lighten the soup. Heat the soup gently to desired consistency, stirring all the while.
- Serve hot, topped with roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds or a little sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.
- You can make your own stock like I did here.
- I made this soup extra spicy, be sure to adjust spices according to your taste.
- Soup is a throw-everything-in-a-pot-and-ignore-it kind of thing and you can bring your own variations and measurements to it. That being said, roasting the squash for a few minutes in the oven and then using it in the soup would be nice too.
So tell me, are you a soup-lover? Are you secretly excited about the coming cooler months to enjoy some warm, comforting foods?
Do let me know in the comments.
You may also like my Chinese Rice Noodle Soup.
And also my Spicy Shrimp Soup.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
- A Blossoming Life
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- Elizabeth & Co
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- My Romantic Home
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- By Stephanie Lynn