Today on What’s Cooking, I am sharing one of my favorite homemade soup recipes. Around our house, we love soup. From lentil to split pea, minestrone to the Olive Garden pasta Faggioli knockoff, chicken tortilla to corn chowder, we love them all!

There is something so satisfying about taking a few items from the vegetable crisper, some pantry staples, broth and seasonings, and just like magic, you have a warm bowl of wonderfulness. Add a salad or some bread and it makes a great meal for lunch or dinner.

For me, the trickiest part of making butternut squash soup is peeling and cutting up the squash. The meat is so hard, it’s difficult for my sturdiest knife to get through. But I persevere, and after peeling the outside, I cut it into two-inch pieces. They don’t need to look pretty, because they will end up pureed in the end. If I have scared you off from cutting up a butternut squash, you can avoid that process by buying them already diced at Costco or other stores. Genius.

I have made this soup for several years, and typically top it with a few homemade croutons. While on vacation recently, I ordered a bowl of butternut squash soup with my lunch and they had taken the embellishments to a whole new level. It was topped with a few crumbles of bacon and some roasted pumpkin seeds. Their soup wasn’t any better than mine, but those toppings, wow! The slight saltiness of the bacon bits and the crunch of the pumpkin seeds took it right over the top. So, because I never met a recipe I didn’t want to copy, I’m adding these toppings the same way that restaurant did. They’ll never know, right?

For this recipe, I add a few carrots to the cut-up squash, just for the extra sweetness. I have also, on occasion, added a diced apple for the same reason.  Then of course celery and onion, all sautéed in olive oil and butter. Once the vegetables are slightly softened, I add chicken stock. If you are vegetarian, you can substitute vegetable stock, of course. For seasonings, I like to add some nutmeg and ginger, as well as salt and pepper to taste.

Once the vegetables have simmered for about 20-30 minutes and are soft, you can use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you do not have an immersion blender, you can do small batches at a time in a blender or food processor. When the soup mixture is completely blended, add ½ cup of milk or so, until the soup is the desired consistency.

Serve hot and topped with items of your choice, including bacon bits, crème fresh, pumpkin seeds or croutons. This soup is not only delicious, it is beautiful in color and makes a lovely presentation.

As these days of cooler weather end for another year, there is still time to make a comforting bowl of butternut squash soup. I hope you will enjoy this creamy and satisfying butternut squash soup as much as we do!

Good tidings,

Recipe for Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash or 2-3 cups of diced squash
1 cup carrots
1 cup celery
½ cup diced onion
Butter and olive oil to sauté
4 cups chicken broth
Salt, pepper, nutmeg, ginger to taste
½ cup milk or half and half
In a large pan, sauté the vegetables until softened. Add broth and simmer for 20-30 minutes until completely soft. Blend with immersion blender or food processor until there are no lumps. Add desired seasonings of nutmeg, ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Stir in milk to desired consistency. Serve and enjoy!

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