Butternut Squash Soup: with a kick

There is an abundance of winter squash available this time of year: acorn, spaghetti, butternut, delicata. I love seasonal cooking, but sometimes fall veggies are a challenge for me. Most winter squash has a naturally sweet flavor. Call me old fashion, but I just don’t like sweets for dinner. It can be difficult to modify recipes to balance the flavor without adding too much salt.  After making this recipe from 100 Days of Real Food 3 times with a few unsuccessful variations, it hit me - Chili Powder!

So perfect, so simple. The even better news?  Chili powder, also known as Capsicum, is rich in Vitamin A & C, along with important minerals. The Vitamin A is great for eye site, bone, skin and teeth health; and the abundance of Vitamin C gives it healing, antioxidant properties. Chili powder also has a metabolism boosting effect, which means it’s a great detoxifier. I added a bit of garlic to the original recipe, as well because I’m obsessed with garlic.The end results was a spicy, delicious fall soup that will now be a Maynor Kitchen staple. We’ve enjoyed this soup as is, but you could also add some steamed veggies or boiled chicken for a heartier option. 

Enjoy Folks!

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves: 5-6
Ingredients

  • 1 medium to large butternut or other winter squash (between 3 and 4 pounds)
  • 3.5 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 1 large leek, white part only cleaned thoroughly and chopped
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1.5-2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced or grated (If it’s organic, don’t fool with peeling)
  • 5 cups broth, both chicken and veggie will work but be mindful of the sodium content!
  • ¼ cup almond milk  (coconut or rice milk would most likely work as well!)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt  (if using salted store-bought chicken broth then taste the soup before adding any salt)
  • ½-1 teaspoon fresh grated black pepper
  • 1 - 1.5 teaspoon chili powder (I didn’t measure the chili powder out precisely, so this is an estimate. Don’t go crazy with it at the beginning - you can always add more)
     

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut the top of the squash off, slice in half long ways. and scoop out the seeds.
  3. Oil the baking sheet just enough to prevent sticking, then place squash cut side down and bake for 30-45 minutes.  The the thick part of the squash should be easily be pierced with a fork when done. Sometimes, you can simply peel the skin off the back of the squash but if not, let cool then scoop out the pulp and discard the skin.
  4. In a large soup pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add the chopped leeks, onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 – 8 minutes until tender, but not browned.
  5. Add the squash pulp to the pot along with the 5 cups of broth, black pepper and about half the chili powder. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring and breaking up the squash with the back of your spoon, for 10 – 15 minutes.
  6. Add in almond milk as you puree the soup either with a hand immersion blender or in a countertop blender. I used my Vitamix, but I plan to invest in a hand blender for soups soon!
  7. A quick taste test here will let you know if you need to add salt, pepper and the rest of the chili powder.  I added most of the pepper and chili powder after I had pureed.
  8. Serve immediately, refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

Wishing you Spice and Love,

Emilie