Now is the perfect time of year to make soup – we can almost see breath clouds while walking to school in the morning (it takes a lot of huffing), pumpkins are stacked on front stoops and the maples are showing off their fall colors.
Plus, Thanksgiving is right around the corner – I just placed my order for a pasture-raised turkey. Now I need to get busy planning our menu. Since we don’t have a huge family gathering and the duty to provide everybody’s habitual favorite side dishes, I try different recipes from year to year, just to keep things interesting. I’m craving chiles this year, for some reason, and might roast this Southwestern-inspired turkey.
This soup will be great on our holiday table. Made with my all-time favorite fall ingredient, butternut squash, it’s so smooth and rich-tasting you might think it’s loaded with butter and cream, but no worries! It’s completely dairy-free. The secret to its plush, velvety texture is in the ratio of vegetables to broth, and the addition of a little bit of potato for body.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon ground ginger or 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 small non-starchy potato (such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss), peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
4 - 5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Fresh herbs and toasted nuts, to garnish (optional)
- Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and ginger; cook 5 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the squash, potato, honey, stock and orange juice and zest; season generously with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then adjust heat to medium-low. Cover the pot and cook until the squash is soft when pierced with a fork.
- Puree the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion hand blender until very smooth.
- Garnish with fresh chopped herb leaves (such as chives, basil or parsley) and chopped toasted nuts, if you like.