A few years ago I went with my Grandma to see a speaker. The event was held at a commune, for lack of a better word, near Fort Collins, CO. It was a beautiful place in a lush little valley. Everyone who lived there helped with everything. They grew their own food, and produced as much as possible on the premises. They hosted conferences to help raise money for the commune. They provided the food and had a carrot butternut soup that was divine. I had never tasted anything like it. So several years later when I came across a butternut squash soup recipe (this is when I was moving toward foodie state) I decided to use it as a base to try to recreate this memorable soup.
I haven’t made this recently, so I don’t have a picture. I don’t have anything new that I am making today. We have so many left overs from my past few cooking bonanzas that we are going to be eating left overs for a few days. So I decided that on left over days I will put up oldies-but-goodies to share.
This soup has so many good things going for it. First, as we know, we should all be trying to eat many colors of foods. This soup comes out a gorgeous fall orange color, which means that you are getting all kinds of good nutrients. Second, is that this is a crock pot recipe! As you will find, I am in love with my crock pots. I say pots in the plural on purpose. They are so convenient, especially if you are at work all day. Third is that this is a really hearty soup that is super low on points. So you can satisfy your craving for hearty foods on cold days without blowing your budget.
You will notice that I do have another recurring ingredient. No, not sweet potatoes (though you could experiment with adding 1/2 of one in), but curry and cayenne. Everyone is surprized when I say that as a rule, I add these in to any dish where the main ingredient is orange or deep yellow. I don’t add enough that you can taste it, but it always adds amazing depth to the dish. I will do my best to make sure that tomorrow’s recipe does not have either sweet potatoes or curry.
There is a special kitchen gadget that makes this much easier to do. Appropriately, I got it from my Grandma. It is an immersion blender. Mine has all kinds of other nifty attachments too, like a food processor cup. An immersion blender is a stick with a rotary blade on the end (basically). You put it into pots of soup (usually, though it can be for other things) when you want to go from chunky to creamy. If you are a soup fan like me, this is a great tool.
NOTE: I am very much a sight, taste, and smell cook, so all of my measurements are approximate. That is particularly true with this soup. You may want more or less ginger in particular.
Problem: None, it is amazing without being fatty.
Special Tools: Large crock pot and an immersion blender, or a regular blender.
- 1 large butternut squash
- 4-5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into little rounds. Or one bag baby carrots (which I discourage. They are extraordinarily environmentally wasteful).
- 1/4 c chopped fresh ginger (I get one of the little jars of it from the produce section of the grocery store) NOTE: ginger powder and fresh ginger are not interchangeable.
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced (if you are using the jar of minced garlic like I do–also available in the produce section–do not go overboard. A 1/4 of a tsp is plenty sufficient.)
- 1.5-2 boxes of chicken broth (as needed to cover the ingredients).
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp ish of cayenne powder.
- Salt and pepper
- Optional: milk or cream
- Peel, half, seed, and chop the butternut squash. This really is a labor of love, you’ll wonder why you ever do this at the end. I find that a potato peeler is best to peel it. It is easier to half lengthwise if you chop off the stem part and then try to hack your way through. I haven’t tried roasting the seeds yet, but I think I’m going to try next time. Chop it into about 1 inch squares.
- Toss your chopped carrots, butternut, onions, garlic, ginger, curry, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste into your largest crock pot. Pour in the chicken stock until it’s level with your ingredients. I use a good amount of salt (probably 1-1.5 tsp of coarce kosher). Don’t skimp on the pepper either.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- If you are able, check it about an hour before you are going to serve it. Take a little taste to see if it needs more salt or pepper.
- Right before blending you can add in a bit of milk or half and half. This just makes it creamier and richer. Depending on your tastes, do 1-2 cups for the whole soup. If you do, add 1/2 a point per serving. I forgot to do that last time and it was still so creamy and delicious.
- Use an immersion blender and stick it right in the crock pot. Keep going until it is the consistency you want. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a ladle to ladle it into a blender and blend until it is the right consistency. Make sure that you have another bowl to be able to pour the blended soup into when you are done.