sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is better
Today I got into the fall spirit (which seems to be everyday, as of late) and decided to make butternut squash soup. It turned out to be so buttery, creamy, flavorful, and delicious. She’s a lil spicy 🌶 🥵 , but so incredibly good. The only downside is it has so many ingredients and though simplicity can be equally so good… so can 12 other ingredients (lol).
I would like to say that I’m still an aspiring chef. Though, in the kitchens I work in now there is some sort of order where there is both a Head Chef and a Pastry Chef (aka me). But, until there is some more rankings to iron out the fine details of saucier and… “broiler- person”. Or until I earn my fancy degree and chef whites as cliche as that may sound… I would like to go by Precious the Pioneer/Humble/Try Hard/Home Cook.
I take the try hard to heart and am now learning what it actually means to be a home cook. I think I used to never want to cook at home because I immediately felt the vast overwhelm of prep work, time, ingredients, and the cleaning. Lord the cleaning! It’s these service pressures that have been ingrained in me as I began learning the art of cooking. You have to be fast, but precise, and also beautiful. It’s a little overwhelming, yet equally rewarding. But, home cooking is something different: something more calming. Something where I can make meals that are random and can be simply inspired by the items in my kitchen. It doesn’t have to look perfect every single time, sometimes things only have to taste good. I can work with that. What a joy :)
With this butternut squash soup, I kind of looked at a bunch of recipes online and did my best to create something inspired by all of them to make it my own. My mom makes an incredible butternut squash soup, and so mine is inspired by hers with a heavy hand.
For this recipe I added:
1 medium sized butternut squash
3 chipotle peppers (from a can)
1 yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 granny smith apple
2 tbs of dried rosemary
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 tbs salt (season to taste)
5 tbs butter
I put all of these ingredients into my dutch oven, with the lid off. I thought it kind of looked really pretty roasting all together. Fall in a pot.
I roasted all of the ingredients for 1 hour and 30 minutes at 350 degrees F. You just want to cook everything until it’s soft enough to run through a blender.
You’ll know when your soup is coming together, when it kind of looks like baby food. (lol it doesn’t sound that appetizing when referenced like that… but it’s true!) It’s a little mushy looking, but this step is so important. Taste! Check to see what it’s missing. I found that it actually was perfect for salt, sweetness, and spiciness. But, we all have different tastes. Be sure to adjust the flavor. When it’s ready, I grabbed a small ladle and began scooping the soup into my blender. If you have an emulsion blender that’ll work perfectly as well!
I then added another 2 cups of vegetable broth and 1 cup of heavy cream (you could use coconut milk, I just happened to run out). Secure the lid and blend until super smooth. You’re going for a nice purée. Silkiness.
I’m going to be honest with ya’ll because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes that I did. Plus, exposing my mistakes is a good reference for my growth in the future. This is where my novice side really shows. But, practice makes perfect!
- Though you can roast the butternut squash and the peel is edible, peel it anyway. I missed the mark when it came to consistent texture of this soup. It’s supposed to be a purée, so if it’s got lumps, it’s not quite right. Most of the peel came off super easy and other parts were broken down in the soup, which is fine. If you want to shoot for perfect. Peel the squash.
- Carrots take longer to cook than all of the other ingredients. Everything else blended, butter smooth… except the carrots. They were slightly harder than the rest. So, though blended relatively well, you can still feel the texture of the carrot. Next time, I would put the carrots in early to give them a longer cooking time so that they too turn out soft.
- Use a sprig of rosemary or any other herbs. It was a mistake to add dried rosemary, because it’s not something that you really want in the final result. Rosemary isn’t something that blends or breaks downs as easily as the other ingredients. It’s kind of “barky” and less leafy. So in this case it’s best to put a sprig in to give the super all of the super flavor. But, then take out before you blend. The dried rosemary kind left some added texture to the soup.
- To fix all texture problems run your soup through a sieve (super thin, wire colander). Using one of those kitchen tools will help with any of the texture problems mentioned above. But, it’s really best to nail it the first time. Less dishes! Less time!
- Experiment and have fun with it! I don’t want my mistakes to deter you aways from the fun and joy of cooking. I think that this whole process of trying new things, and new recipes excites me. It’s one of the main reasons why I loved cooking in the first place. Sometimes I lose side of that when working in restaurants, making the same dishes everyday. It’s so easy to perfect after a few days. But, home cooking is for the enjoyment of good food. The enjoyment of your type of food. The perfect place for mistakes. The perfect place for anyone to coast along the learning curve. Including myself. And though it’s taken me so long to get to this place of understanding, I am so happy to be here.
I hope you enjoyed this recipe, or at least will consider trying it at home. It does have quite a bite to it. You can do with out the peppers if you wish. I think it provides such a beautiful balance. I’ll show you how I dress the soup and top it off tomorrow. It’ll definitely be Instagram worthy, so be ready for that. I want to thank you fo being on this cooking journey with me. I hope that it inspires you. But, ’til then chao!
PS: You’ll get a pretty hefty quantity: enough for about 4 hearty bowls. One mason jar full. Also, my pup was super excited to see what I was up to :)