Butternut Squash Soup

by Anouk Booneman

It starts to look a lot like winter in my kitchen. Since we try to eat as seasonal and local as possible, various kind of squashes have started to line up on my shelves. At this time, we welcome the arrival of the butternut squash, until it starts to really overstay its welcome when April arrives. We are not there yet, and I am happily making dishes with this versatile winter vegetable.  One of my favorite ways to use butternut squash is in a soup. The following recipe is adapted from the site Food 52 and is brilliant in its simplicity. It’s very easy and fast to make.  Make a large batch to have seconds during the week.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white miso
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (1-inch) knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cumin. Or use ginger powder. (Sometimes I like to use food grade essential oils when i cook. Be careful with those, they are very strong.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or slightly more to taste
  • 1 (3-pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. (Put the squash for about one minute in the microwave. This will make it easier to peel the squash).
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (Skip the coconut milk that says light. It's diluted with water.  If you want lighter coconut milk use the full fat one and dilute it with water yourself. You will save money.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste

Start by making a miso stock. Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting soybeans and sometimes rice, barley, seaweed or other ingredients. I have found great miso (not made with soybeans) at the greengrocer. It can also be found at an Asian market or online. There is always a jar of miso in my fridge. I use it for soup, dressings, sauces and even batters. To make your miso stock: Heat four cups of water into a saucepan to a simmer. Whisk the remaining 1/2 cup of water together with the miso and pour that into a saucepan and heat to simmer but don’t let it boil. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (or coconut oil if preferred) in a heavy pot. Add the onion and sweat until translucent. This only takes a few minutes. Add the fresh ginger (or ginger powder or essential oil) and cayenne and cook for a minute or so. Add some of your miso stock. Add your cubed butternut squash and the salt, then pour in the rest of the miso stock. Simmer until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Turn of the heat and pureed in a food processor or in a blender. Return the soup back to the pot and stir in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust for seasoning.


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