I had a craving for butternut squash soup, but my previous efforts have been a bit bland, I’ve ended up pouting plenty of hot sauce into my soup just before serving, or piling it high with cheese or sour cream to give it some interest, but this time I cracked it – the perfect butternut squash soup recipe and all it needed was ginger.
I’d love to tell you that this was the result of careful research into flavor combinations, but the real inspiration was more prosaic. I was in the greengrocer, yes an actual greengrocer, I’m lucky enough to live in a neighborhood that has a husband and wife team who set up their trestel tables piled high with all sorts of fruit and veg for happy shoppers who want to give the supermarket a miss. Anyway, there I was buying my butternut squash, and they had some leeks that looked delicious so I picked one of those up too, and a pomegranate, and as I was paying there was fresh ginger by the counter so I bought that too, and a pineapple.
The original plan was to have the ginger and pineapple, but when I got home I thought maybe the ginger would go well with the butternut squash, so into the soup it went, along with the random leek purchase. The pineapple didn’t suffer though, that got cooked up with some rum and chili for a great dessert another day.
Enough of this, to the recipe …
- Prep time:
- Cook time:
- Ready in:
- Yields: Serves four hungry people for a meal
- 1 Butternut squash, medium
- 1 Leek
- 1 Brown onion
- 1/2 Garlic bulb, 6-8 cloves
- 2 thumbs Fresh ginger
- 4 cups Vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp Olive oil, virgin
- Put the olive oil in a large soup pan and put on the heat, at a medium-low setting
- Crush the garlic and add add to the pan, it should not be so hot as to burn, just slowly go translucent
- Chap the onion roughly and add to the pan, stir around to get as much contact with the base of the pan as possible, again, you just want it to go translucent
- Slice the leek into about 1/4 inch coins, taking care to check there’s no dirt in between the rings. If you need to spilt it open to do this its fine, your leek will be liquidized in the end so there’s no need for them to look pretty
- Peel and chop the ginger into 1/8 inch cubes and add them to the veggies, give them a stir. By now your kitchen should be starting to smell good.
- Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes, throw them in with the veg and give them a stir. Turn the heat up to medium and cook, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes.
- Add the 4 cups of stock to the pan, it should just cover the vegetable mix. Set the heat so it’s gently simmering, cover and leave to cook for about 30 minutes, checking now and them to see that it’s not boiling over.
- Poke the butternut squash cubes with a wooden spoon, the should squash easily. If they’re still hard, leave to cook for five more minutes, and repeat the test.
- Once your squash is squishy, zap your soup with a stick blender. Blend until smooth. If you don’t have a stick blender (or a stabmixer as the German’s call them) then pour your soup into a liquidizer, taking care not to spill any hot soup on you, and liquidize it. You may need to do this in a couple of batches.
- Return your soup to the heat and stir, taste it to check the flavours, if you want to add salt, pepper or chili, now is the time.
- Serve with fresh crusty bread.
Butternut Soup Variations
If you can’t get fresh ginger then I suggest you pack up and move to a city where you can. If that’s not a practical choice for you then you can use powdered ginger. Start with a level tablespoon and then adjust to your taste at the end.
You can add fresh red chili to the veg mix for a spicier option. I make plenty of soups with chili and in this one I prefer the ginger to shine through.
If you don’t have vegetable stock you could use chicken bouillon, but your soup will then be chicken squash soup, and not vegetarian.
You can top with a sprinkling of cheese which is nice for a contrast of temperature, texture and flavor, but again, remember, with cheese your soup won’t be vegan. I find feta works really well for salty tang.
The leek does add a depth of flavor, but if leeks aren’t available then use an extra onion instead.
With Halloween just around the corner you may be tempted to use pumpkin instead. It works well, but some pumpkins are a bit watery so tone down your stock usage, you can always add more later. I so find that pumpkin can be a bit tasteless, so feel free to add chili and up the ginger to give it a bit more ooomph.