For two seasons now, I’ve been trying my hand at edible landscaping. The path leading from my driveway to my front porch is a steady incline with several flower beds cascading between the walkway and my home. Our property was vacant for about a year before we moved in and the landscaping shows it. Plus over the past 23 months, we’ve only managed to minimally improve the wild state it’s in. To some degree, I prefer my yard to look more untame than manicured but the front walkway has been a literal uphill battle. The area was infected with zombie like thistle that I just couldn’t get rid of, especially since I’m growing as naturally as I can without the use of chemical sprays. So last summer, in an attempt to choke out the thistle, I covered the entire area in a layer of hay, which later I realized was full of seed. Now I’ve successfully choked out most of the thistle, but I’ve got grass growing knee high in most places. Next season I may have to concede and break ground elsewhere on the property and just use the front landscaping as a pollinator garden.
With all the weeds and grasses however, the butternut squash I planted flourished and overtook, as it tends to do, a couple sections of the front landscaping with its luscious leaves, climbing vines, and golden blossoms. I had to tame it as best I could to keep it from smothering out my rosemary, thyme, and oregano. No matter how much space you think you have allotted for squash plants double it, triple it even. They love to sprawl out and take up a lot more space than you think. I’ve enjoyed watching the little squashes grow bigger and bigger and enjoyed even more cutting one large beauty off the vine and roasting it up in my oven.
Now I’ve eaten quite a bit of incredible butternut squash soups over the years from traditional to curried, but I will say that nothing delights me more or tastes as scrumptious as experiencing the transformation of a tiny seed sprouting in my basement, to transplanting that little sprout so fragile and full of potential into my garden, then witnessing a gorgeous vegetable ripen for harvest and finally ending up as a delicious, velvety soup simmering in my Dutch oven. It’s a joyous experience that I have every intention of practicing and perfecting over the years to come and feel extremely fortunate to have the space to do so.
This recipe is slightly different than the average one as I prefer to simplify butternut squash soup by roasting the squash rather than breaking the raw veggie down into cubes. This method also caramelizes the squash adding a subtle sweetness to the soup. So if I can add complexity to the soup’s flavor while simultaneously making prep easier then that’s the method I’m gonna go with. Also, I don’t really see the need to add milk or heavy cream to this soup, as in my opinion the squash is quite cable of standing on its own but feel free to add it, if you prefer. To finish, I like to garnish my soup with a small dollop of sour cream, lots of cracked black pepper, and toasted pepitas but feel free to mix it up and garnish however you like.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 Butternut squash, trimmed, halved, and seeds removed
1 tsp EVOO
2 Carrots, trimmed and halved
1 large Sweet Onion, quartered
2 to 4 cups Vegetable Stock
1/4 tsp fresh grated Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Red Pepper flakes, optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
Garnish: sour cream, toasted pepitas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add the butternut squash, carrot, and onion to a roasting pan and lightly coat with EVOO, salt, and pepper. Roast veggies 45 minutes to an hour until tender and caramelized. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove skin from butternut squash and discard. In a Dutch oven or soup pot, add the roasted veggies and 2 cups of vegetable stock. With an immersion blender (or puree veggies separately in a food processor) puree the veggies and stock until smooth. Add additional stock until desired consistency is reached. Over med high flame, bring the soup to a simmer and add in the grated nutmeg and red pepper flakes, if using. Simmer about 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve immediately and garnish with sour cream and toasted pepitas.