Sunday, November 6, 2011
I was thrilled and honored when Jane from Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms invited me to write a guest post for her. I’ve been following Jane’s blog for many months now and I’ve always enjoyed reading her blog. If you have not visited her blog yet, you should. In addition to simple and delicious make-ahead meals recipes, you can also find wonderful giveaways, Linky party/Blog Hop, news, and inspirations from her life stories….etc. Jane is a busy mom of two, a second grade and preschool teacher, and the author of the wonderful blog Make-Ahead Meals for Busy Moms. I don’t know how she finds the time to do it all. All I can say is that I’m very inspired and impressed by her achievements.
Did I mention this is my very first time doing a guest post? Oh yes, it is. More fun than I can imagine, too. When I was testing out recipes for this guest post, I wanted to prepare something seasonal and one that can be made-ahead! As a busy Mom myself, I can definitely take advantage of making some meals ahead for my family. This is one of the most tasty recipe for the season. Best of all, it’s super easy to prepare and it tastes even better after a day or two. This recipe is definitely a keeper and you can bet that I have a batch in my fridge that I can easily heat up for tonight’s dinner. With the temperature getting lower and lower, a hot bowl of Smoky Butternut Squash Soup will definitely warm your heart, soul, and tummy as well. If you haven’t cut a butternut squash before, here’s how. Just a few simple steps.
First, with a very sharp knife, cut off a small piece of the skin on the bottom of the squash (as shown in picture #2) so the squash can stand flat without moving around. Then, cut the squash in half like picture #3 above. Next, cut/peel off the skin around while the squash is standing flat on the cutting board. You can do the same with the top half of the squash. Somehow, I find it easier to peel the top half with a vegetable peeler. Then, split the bottom half of the squash in half (as shown in picture #4) and spoon out the seeds. Cube the squash and you’re all done. Just be very careful and the squash can be slippery. It a lot safer and easier to use a sharp knife to cut the squash.
The smoky flavor in this recipe came from a chipotle pepper that I added. It adds a lot of smokiness and some heat to the soup. If you’re serving the soup for younger kids and only want the smokiness but not the heat, you can definitely replace the chipotle with a tablespoon of smoke paprika, which only have smoky flavor but not the heat. Besides Butternut squash in this recipe, I added a little red yam for sweetness to balance out the heat and smoky flavor. I also added a little bit of freshly grated ginger for earthiness to round out the overall flavor. When ready to serve, put a dollop of crème fraîche for creaminess and a teaspoon or so of toasted pine nuts for some crunch. You can serve this soup as a side dish or bigger portion with toasts or baguette as a meal. Either way, your tummy and family will thank you.
You can store this soup in the fridge (without the crème fraîche and nuts, only add those right before serving) for up to a week. Or, you can store the soup in the freezer for even longer. Simply heat it up on the stove right before you serve and that is faster than ordering take-outs, and a lot healthier too! I hope you’re enjoying the cooler temperature that the season brings. I know I am. With a healthy soup such as this one, it is satisfying and tasty. It’s simple enough to make on a weeknight for the family and it’s also elegant enough to serve if you have guests visiting.
Thank you again, Jane, for inviting me to write a guest post for your blog. It’s been a pleasure and I had so much fun preparing this recipe and photo shoot. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Thank you everyone for visiting and reading today. Don’t forget to hop over to Jane’s blog to check it out and have fun. Until next time, please take care and I’ll see you real soon.
Smoky Butternut Squash Soup Printable Recipe
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small leek, use white and pale-green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed well
1 Granny Smith (green) apple, cored, peeled, and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
2 pounds Butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound red yam, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
6 cups chicken/vegetable stock
1 medium chipotle chili (canned in adobo sauce), can substitute with 1 tablespoon of smoke paprika for no heat version of this recipe
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute garlic and leek until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add apple, ginger and cook for 3 minutes. Add butternut squash, yam and stock; simmer until squash and yam are tender, about 15 minutes. Add chipotle or paprika.
Working in batches, transfer mixture to a blender, and puree until smooth; transfer pureed soup to a large bowl or another pot. For safety, remove cap from the blender lid and cover with a dish towel to prevent spattering. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Dollop a teaspoon of crème fraîche and a teaspoon of toasted pine nuts right before serving.