With the temperature finally dropping below the 70’s, it is starting to feel as if it is truly fall here in Southern California! Which means I start dreaming of one of my most treasured comfort foods – soup. Nothing makes me feel as warm and satisfied as a great bowl of yummy, homemade soup. As soon as I feel the hint of a chill in the air, I start to crave warm and creamy soups. We have an amazing recipe to share with you direct from the kitchen of one of our favorite restaurants, Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s South Coast Plaza. The talented Executive Chef Amar Santana takes advantage of the best of the seasons produce with this sweetly spiced Butternut Squash Soup.
If you are looking for ways to go Meatless on Mondays, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make a fresh, healthy and delicious veggie soup from scratch. You will find that most recipes call for chicken stock, which is easily replaced with a vegetarian option – vegetable stock. I know of many vegetarians that make their own big batches of veggie stock and freeze the extras for future use. If (like me) you are are too busy/lazy to make your own stock, you can find some tasty, healthy options at your supermarket. (I like Imagine’s Organic Vegetable Stock)
As our first Green Monday recipe, I’ve taken the liberty of replacing the chicken stock in Amar’s original version, with a veggie friendly vegetable stock. Pair it with some yummy bread and a big fresh salad for a simple, welcome to fall, Meatless Monday menu.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 4 cups squash puree – butternut or acorn. (If you need a short cut, peeled and chopped raw butternut squash may be purchased in the produce sections of markets).
- 2 cups vegtable stock
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- Approximately ½ cup honey (to taste—see cook’s note)
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Coarse salt and pepper to taste
Combine stock and onion in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until onions have softened. Add the squash and cook for an additional minute.
Place soup into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Add half of the honey and spices and process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with remaining honey and salt and pepper. This may have to be done in batches. Cook’s note: the amount of honey required to give this soup its dusky-sugar taste will depend on the sweetness of the squash.
After all soup has been pureed, return to saucepan over medium heat and cook for a minute or two or until very hot. Pour equal portions into each of 4 warm soup bowls. Garnish with finely chopped chives. Serve immediately.