Friday, January 20, 2012

HypFoods Fresh and Fabulous Winter Squash Soup

On a recent shopping trip to my local Whole Foods, I bought a pair of petite and beautiful butternut squash. Between the two of us, we harbor a plethora of food allergies in our home; thus, meal planning and preparation requires healthy portions of both equanimity and creativity. 

I *love* butternut squash. Hubbers, predictably, does not. I had expected him to be traveling on business this week, so I planned my meals accordingly. But then, of course, things changed. Fortunately, there was plenty of Chicken Soup with Gluten Free Dumplings in the fridge and he loves those Beth Hillson Un-Matzo Dumplings. 
Still, it's a creative challenge to take a food that he normally rejects on principle, without an underlying allergic factor, and try to find a unique preparation that even he can appreciate. I took a few minutes to search the GooglePlex looking for inspiration and, in this case, I found plenty in just one place! I selected a subset of recipes from Cooking Light's "Top-Rated Butternut Squash" feature and I fully intend to try each of them. But in the twilight of our first major winter snowstorm of the season, I wanted soup; hearty, healthy, steaming fullness. It was an exercise in the practice of simple magic and I really couldn't wait to document it.

Using Mark Scarborough's "Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallot Soup" recipe as a starting point, I reviewed the contents of my pantry and fridge, then got to work. Here are the modifications which gave me supper of:

Fresh and Fabulous Winter Squash Soup
  • 2 whole petite butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3 TBS olive oil
  • 1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1TBS jarred organic chopped shallot (Christopher Ranch)
  • 1 tsp jarred organic chopped ginger (Christopher Ranch)
  • 2 cups prepared gluten free chicken broth (Imagine brand is gluten free)
  •     OR use home made stock
  •     VEGAN SUBS 2 cups of herbal tea, such as Bija 'Cold Stop'
        OR Two Leaves and a Bud 'Better Belly Blend'
  • 1 cup coconut milk beverage (So Delicious, Unsweetened)
  • 1 cup blended organic tangerine/orange juice (no sugar added)
  • 1 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 2 TBS fresh organic chopped sage
  • 1 TBS chopped pecans per serving, as garnish

    1. 1. Preheat oven to 325°.
    2. 2. Remove tops and bottoms from squashes, then halve and drizzle freshly cut side with olive oil. Sprinkle each w/ a little sea salt and place cut side down on a foil lined pan.
    3. 3. Slowly roast squashes in oven for about 90 minutes. They will be fork tender when done.
    4. 4. Pour gluten free chicken stock into saucepan and begin to heat gently. 
    5. 5. Remove squashes from oven, then scrape out seeds and discard to compost bin. Scrape pulp from squash rind and add to warming stock. Discard rinds to compost bin and blend pulp into stock with a whisk.
    6. 6. Add coconut beverage, juice and spices to soup, then blend with stick blender. Continue to heat gently. Do NOT boil.
    7. 7. Finely chop the fresh sage, then add to soup. Simmer VERY GENTLY for another 15 minutes, then serve piping hot, paired with a lush Pinot Noir. Garnish with chopped pecans, if desired.