The weather has been rather miserable the past few weeks. The rain hasn’t seemed to stop for more than the occasional half hour, and even when it does, they sky is still grey and dreary. So naturally all I have been waiting to do is curl up inside with a blanket and eat nothing but soups and stews for dinner.
I love making large batches of hearty, one pot meals during the wintertime, although lately I’ve been growing a little tired of my same few go-to recipes. I was trying to think of meals that I’ve enjoyed in the past but have never bothered to make myself, when I recalled a butternut squash soup that I’d had ages ago.
Every time I’ve eaten anything made with butternut squash I’ve really enjoyed it, but I’ve never actually bought one and cooked it myself. This realization seemed criminal to me, so I decided I had to rectify the situation immediately.
I compared a number of butternut squash soup recipes online before deciding to try out this one from A Beautiful Plate. The reason I opted for this one was because it used leeks instead of onions. I generally avoid cooking with onions so that Collin can eat what I make without being sent into digestive agony, but he seems much less sensitive to leeks than onions.
For this recipe, you start out by roasting the butternut squash, so that it gets all tender and caramelized. It was hard not to just eat the roasted squash on its own when it came out the oven. Then you combine it with the leeks, fresh garlic and sage, and some chicken stock, and all the flavours just meld together into the most rich, creamy and satisfying soup of all time. It’s so simple to make, but the outcome is divine!
To prepare the squash, trim the top and bottom ends, just so they’re flat. Stand the squash upright on a cutting board and slice it lengthwise down the middle.
Scoop out and discard the seeds and membranes from each of the halves.
Brush the cut sides of the squash with a little bit of olive oil, and the season them with salt and pepper.
Place the halves, cut-side down, on a baking tray. Roast the squash at 425°F for 45-55 minutes, until they’re tender and caramelized.
The skin on the squash will start to get wrinkly and will brown slightly when it’s nearly done roasting. If you poke at them with a fork or flip one over, you can feel when they start to soften up, and can see when the flesh is starting to caramelize.
Once the squash is cooked, set it aside to cool slightly. Once it’s cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out and discard the skin. Set it aside to add to the soup later.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add some thinly sliced leeks, along with a pinch of salt and pepper, and cook until soft (about 10-12 minutes).
Add some minced garlic and finely chopped fresh sage leaves and sauté for about 60 seconds, stirring frequently.
Add the squash to the pan, along with some chicken or vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes.
After your soup has simmered, it’s time to blend it up! You can use either an immersion blender, or a regular counter top blender. Depending on your appliance, you may want to let the soup cool slightly before blending.
If you’re using a counter top blender, blend the soup up in smaller batches. Blending hot liquids can cause steam to build up in the blender, and the pressure can cause the lid to pop off. It’s better to do it in smaller batches, so your blender is only about half full.
You can eat the soup as is, or add some optional garnishes. The original recipe I looked at recommended creme fraiche, fried sage leaves, and/or roasted pumpkin seeds.
We ended up using some sour cream instead of creme fraiche, but I did try making the fried sage leaves, which I highly recommend!
To make these, heat a little bit of olive oil in a skillet. Add the sage leaves a few at a time, and cook until crisp. You’ll notice when you add the leaves, they will hiss and spit a little bit. I found that a good time to pull them out was once they had stopped sizzling.
Carefully transfer the leaves to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the excess oil. Sprinkle them lightly with some salt and leave to cool completely. You’ll find that they crisp up a bit as they cool.
I think this soup is going to become a staple for me. I absolutely loved the flavour of the roasted butternut squash. I’ll be having my wisdom teeth removed in a few weeks time, so having a few recipes on hand like this that don’t require chewing will be huge bonus!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- 2-3 lb whole butternut squash
- extra virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large leek, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh sage leaves
- 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- Preheat your oven to 425°F. Trim the top and bottom ends of the squash, and stand it upright on a cutting board. Cut the squash lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out and discard the seeds from each half.
- Brush the cut sides of the squash with a thin coat of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place the halves cut-side down on a baking tray, and roast for 45-55 minutes, until the squash is tender and caramelized.
- Allow the squash to cool a bit, then scoop out the flesh and discard the skin. Set the squash aside for later.
- In a large pot, heat 2 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the leeks are soft (10-12 minutes).
- Add the garlic and chopped sage and cook for another 60 seconds, stirring frequently.
- Add the butternut squash and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Blend the soup using an immersion blender, or regular blender, until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Depending on the type of blender you have, you may want to let the soup cool a bit before blending (see notes below).
- Optionally garnish with fried sage leaves, creme fraiche, sour cream, roasted pumkin seeds, or whatever other toppings you might enjoy. (see notes below)
Hot liquids will generate steam. Putting a large amount of hot liquid in a regular counter top blender can cause the steam to build up and the lid to pop off. If using a counter top blender, it's best to blend the soup in smaller batches, and loosen the centre cap on the lid a bit to allow the steam to escape. Notes on fried sage:
To make the fried sage, heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet (enough to cover the bottom). Add the sage leaves a few at a time, and cook until crisp, or until they top sizzling. Carefully transfer the leaves to a plate lined with paper towel to soak up the access oil. Sprinkle on a little salt and allow the leaves to cool completely. They will crisp up a bit more as they cool.