Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Better Homes and Gardens printed this recipe in its November 2007 issue. I know it's July and it's hot, and this soup is really for the fall. But I have about 10 home-frozen packs of squash in my freezer, and I was in the mood for hot soup. This makes up very quickly if you have the squash frozen as I did. (I buy butternut squash when it's plentiful and cheap; I roast it in the oven, scoop out the roasted flesh and package it in 1 cup containers for the freezer.) The soup is on the thick side; it's smooth and creamy and delicious! Instead of using heavy cream as the recipe called for, I subbed Land o'Lakes fat-free half and half. For the topping I used creme fraiche which IMHO worked with the soup flavor better than the heavy cream would have.

One last note: Buy whole nutmegs and grate them yourself. You won't believe the taste difference. Here's the recipe:

Roasted Squash Soup
2-1/2 lb. butternut or acorn squash or sugar pumpkin (I used butternut squash)
2 Tbsp. Smart Balance buttery spread or extra-virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped onion
6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and finely chopped; discard stems
1 small bay leaf
3-1/2 to 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp. honey (optional) (I omitted the honey)
1/3 cup Land o'Lakes fat-free half and half
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup creme fraiche for topping

If you are working from fresh, unroasted, squash, split them in half lengthwise. Preheat oven to 350F. With spoon, scrape out seeds and fibers from cavity. Season cut sides of squash with 1 tsp. salt; place flesh side down in lightly buttered baking dish or 15x10x1-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Add 1/2 cup water to baking pan. Bake 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until skin is browned and flesh is tender when pierced with knife. Remove from oven; let rest until cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh; discard skin.

In large saucepan or dutch oven, heat Smart Balance over medium heat. Add onions, salt, bay leaf and thyme. Saute till onions are tender and translucent (do not allow them to color), about 10 minutes, reducing heat if necessary. Add squash. Cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Add broth; bring to simmer. Simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Note: I covered the pot as the soup was thick enough and I didn't want it to reduce further.) Adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf. Stir in honey, if using. Puree soup right in the pot with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender or food processor. Reheat soup in pot, stirring in half and half and 1/4 tsp. nutmeg; heat through but do not boil. Adjust seasonings; add salt, pepper and honey as needed. Top each serving with a spoonful of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of nutmeg. Yield: 6 (1-cup) servings

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