It was the uncomfortable fullness that inevitably occurs each Christmas that I realized every day is an opportunity to make our very own (individualized) recipe. What do you need more of? What don’t you need more of? We have days where we seek herbs to brighten up our moods or spice to put a pep in our step. Maybe you have a variety of miscellaneous vegetables and scraps in the refrigerator drawer you don’t know what to do with. Soup is always the answer.
Winter Squash Soup
Makes 8 cups
3# Winter Squash or Pumpkin or any Root Vegetable (Celery Root or Parsnips also work well!)
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper- it makes a difference! (S&P)
3T Ghee (I love 4th and Heart)
1 Yellow Onion, sliced (Leeks, Celery and Carrots are also delicious as the base to soup)
2T Honey (find a raw and local vendor and cherish them!)
1t Cardamom, ground
1/2t Nutmeg, ground
(Fresh Herbs such as thyme and/or sage would also work with this recipe)
6-8C Chicken or Vegetable Stock
1/2C Creme fraiche (optional)
*If you are looking for a creamier soup, yukon potatoes can be added to your vegetable base above with onions if you would like to omit dairy.
*If you want to make a vegetable broth, save all of the trim and ends of your vegetables. Even Garlic and/or Onion skins work as they will be strained.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Prick squash all over with fork- drizzle with oil, S&P and roast for 1 hour +/_ until softened. (If using another vegetable, peel, dice and roast until soft).
- Scoop the flesh of the squash and discard the skin after roasting.
- In a large sauce-pan, heat ghee add onions (and any other base vegetables you have such as leeks, celery, carrots etc). Sweat for 15-20 minutes on low- medium heat and then drizzle with honey. (I find that honey enhances the natural root flavor of the vegetables).
- Once the vegetables are tender and honey has been drizzled, season with S&P. Add squash and spices (and herbs if using).
- Add stock to cover the vegetables and simmer for 30 min.
- Cool the base and then puree a ladle at a time into a heat safe blender. Strain the pureed soup through a colander (or strainer) pushing any solids using the back of a ladle. Discard pulp.
- Add creme fraiche to your pureed base (if using dairy). Adjust seasoning with salt/pepper or even hot sauce if you are feeling adventurous. Our 2021 Nik-Sa hot sauce was just bottled and is fantastic. Regardless of whether you 'think' you do or do not like spicy, hot sauce can be a true game changer when cooking. It's a binder and helps bring dishes together. You can test it for yourself here!
*A few miscellaneous notes on soups in general:
Puréed soups are always easiest because well, they get puréed! If you want to make a minestrone or a soup that is not pureed, I recommend cooking your vegetables (that you will be serving in the final soup) and/or beans separately. The base can be made as above and then combined with whichever vegetables and/or starches (pasta/beans) you would like to add once each component has been seasoned and cooked to completion.
Also, if you are not an onion fan, substitute leeks. If leeks are still on your ‘no’ list, experiment with lesser known delicious vegetables such as Kohlrabi or Turnips that still pack flavor along with nutrients when roasted.