When searching for the perfect butternut squash soup recipe, my mind was stuck in a rut that butternut squash soup should incorporate apples. It just made sense. The autumn-ish flavors should go perfect together, blending sweet with wonderfulness that is butternut squash. Unfortunately, I've tried several versions but had yet to find the recipe that balanced it well-they often turned out too apple-y or blah. This recipe, however, used orange. I resisted the idea for a while, immediately thinking of ways to change it to apple, but then I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt. Oh Happy Day. I was actually impressed with the flavor combinations there. The red pepper gave it an extra little flair that I enjoyed. I will use this recipe now, until I find another way that seems close to the perfect one conjured up in my imagination.Try it out...it's pretty easy, too!
The hardest part is probably cutting the squash. Do it lengthwise like this.
Then remove the seedy part with the strings (like cleaning out a little pumpkin). It does require a little time to bake the butternut squash at the first, but after that is very quick. Baking the butternut squash decreases the need to do lots of hard work to remove the skin and it softens it enough that you can just scoop it out with a spoon. Just remember to hold it with a hot pad and not your hand as you scoop (it just came out of the oven!) My hands are notoriously always cold so they think they can get away with shenanigans like that...they can't.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 medium size butternut squash
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped onions (I used combo of red, white and green)
4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice (juice the orange you used for the zest)
1/2 cup low fat sour cream (or coconut milk for those with milk allergies)
1/2 cup roasted red pepper sauce (or red pepper puree)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Cut whole butternut squash in half lengthwise and lay in baking dish, facing up. Clean out bulb portion of seeds and strings. Brush the top with olive oil and bake in oven at 475 degrees for 45 min. When done, scoop out flesh with spoon. Saute garlic and onions w/olive oil in a large saute pan until soft. Add chicken broth, orange juice and butternut squash flesh. Bring to a boil. Puree soup with food processor or blender (I used a handheld blender right in the pot). Add thyme and most of orange zest. Add a dollop of sour cream and red pepper sauce and swirl in. Garnish with a few red pepper flakes, fresh thyme sprigs and reserved zest. Makes 5-6, 1 cup servings.