I am not a chef, nor do I play one on TV, at least not yet. This blog is about my creative exploits in the kitchen and how you too can begin to create some culinary masterpieces of your own. Somewhere deep inside, you have the ability to create in the kitchen or anywhere else in your life. You just have to begin to trust your inspiration and figure out how to bring it to life.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Basic Butternut Squash Soup
Soup is my favorite food and subject. I often wake up with new soup combinations on my mind.Why?Soup is the ultimate playground of creativity.
Healing Power of Soup
Another thing that intrigues me is the healing power of soup.It is legendary.Mothers everywhere whip up a batch of chicken soup at the first sign of illness.It seems to restore a feeling of well-being immediately.Whether it’s a scientific fact or a placebo effect, the end result is still the same. Comfort in the body, mind and soul boosts your immune system and leads to wellness.
Soup’s well deserved healing reputation may be attributed to the fact that it is one of the few ways of cooking that allows you to consume all of the nutrients available from the food. With all cooking methods, nutrients tend to leach out into the water, steam or juices that escape and are then discarded.With soup, you are consuming that water so nothing is lost.
Nutritional Value of Butternut Squash
Butternut Squash, like sweet potato, has a very high percentage of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.A rule of thumb when it comes to identifying the nutritional value of foods is the color.When you see orange veggies, you can pretty much count on Vitamin A to be at the forefront. It’s a great thing to add to soups when you want to boost your nutrition intake.
Butternut Squash Soup is a blank canvas when it comes to creating with soup.The possible variations are endless, but let’s begin with the basic recipe.
I find that caramelized onion is a great compliment to the flavors in this squash.I also use red bell peppers as opposed to green because the flavor and color combines well with the sweetness of the squash and enhances the visual appeal.
1 large Butternut Squash (take great care in peeling and cutting—the shape of this squash can make it difficult to work with).Trader Joes carries peeled and cubed squash for a very reasonable price.
1 or 2 large onions
Red Bell Pepper
Butter and/or Olive Oil or any vegetable oil
Chicken Broth (I used 2 packs of powdered chicken bouillon.You can make your own broth by boiling chicken, onion, celery, carrots, bell peppers and seasonings, cooking until meat is tender and then skimming everything out and storing the broth in the fridge.I do this around Thanksgiving when I know it will be used in many dishes.You can also freeze it.)
Costco no salt organic seasoning
Red Pepper Flakes
Chop onions and Red Bell Pepper
Melt butter or oil in the bottom of the pot
Add onions sautéing stirring constantly until they become translucent and golden brown (take care not to burn!)
Add red bell pepper and continue to sauté for a few minutes
Add cubed squash
Add water just enough to cover squash
Season including powdered bouillon (bouillon is salty so hold back on any additional salt until you taste)
Bring to a boil
Cover and simmer until squash is tender
Use a potato masher to mash squash
Stir to combine all ingredients
Taste and add more seasonings if needed
*I Individualized each serving as follows:
1 Tablespoon of Heavy Cream
Grated Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese on top as a garnish
Served with toasted Whole Grain Bread
This is my favorite!
Thawed frozen cooked shrimp in a cup of water with Old Bay Seasoning
Drained and added to soup
Reheat bowl to heat shrimp or heat shrimp prior to adding
Served with Crackers
My Hubbie’s favorite.
*What would you like to add?
Here are a few ideas:Toasted nuts, pasta, cooked veggies, boiled chopped egg, meat, fish, shell fish like King crab.Remember that creativity is all about creating something that appeals to you.