By Michele L.
Most people think of this time of year as the light at the end of a wintery tunnel. I, on the other hand, think of something else: RAIN. I will take snow over rain any day of the week and twice on Sunday. When I’m damp I feel cold all the way down to my bones. Nothing takes that chill away quite like a bowl of soup, and butternut squash soup is one of my springtime favorites.
Butternut squash usually gets relegated to the fall months. But to me, the sweetness of the squash along with the inherent lighter qualities of a vegetable based soup make it the perfect dish for a chilly spring day. It may be gray outside, but this soup is sunshine in a bowl. Plus, if you’re so inclined, this soup can be made completely vegetarian or even VEGAN! But I’ll get to that later.
I chose to make this recipe in the instant pot because I like taking easy things and making them even easier. I know: pressure cookers can be intimidating. The great thing about electric pressure cookers – such as the Instant Pot – is that they’ve taken out all the guess work. Take a little time to read through the instructions, press a few buttons, and you’re on your way to a quick meal that’s seemingly cooked all day. But if you don’t have the equipment, or don’t want to invest in one, this could just as well be made in a crock pot or slow cooker. Follow the same procedure, but cook everything for 8 hours on low before blending.
Now butternut squash isn’t the easiest thing to break down. This is the time to make sure that both your knife and your vegetable peeler are very sharp. Has that peeler been getting banged around in a drawer for 10 years? Go ahead and get yourself a new one. It seems counterintuitive, but having sharp tools is the best way to prevent cuts in the kitchen. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. Once you’ve taken all the skin off the squash with your sharp peeler, take your sharp knife and separate the neck part of the squash from the bulb. This makes it much easier to halve, seed, and rough chop before moving on to the rest of your prep.
Once you’ve peeled and chopped and sautéed and pressure cooked, everything gets blended up with one of my favorite tools: the immersion blender. I HIGHLY recommend one. They cost right around $30 and make pureeing anything hot (or cold for that matter) very easy. I’ve even used mine to make mashed potatoes! Transferring hot liquid into a blender can be a little dangerous and a LOT messy. The immersion blender is a great way to keep things simple and safe and get you that delicious smooth texture that butternut squash soup is known for.
As I said earlier, this dish is a breeze to turn into a vegetarian or vegan dish. Plant-based diets are definitely in the forefront of the food world right now, and these swaps are just as delicious as the original.
*To make it veggie: swap out the chicken stock for vegetable stock.
**To make it vegan: omit the butter and substitute either cashew cream or coconut milk for the cream.
However you make it, you’ll want to serve yourself up a big bowl. I like to top it with green apples and chives for freshness. And croutons. Because croutons. Add a slice of hearty bread and you’ve got a meal that will beat back any remaining winter time dreariness.
- 2 T butter
- 2 T oil
- 2 T salt
- 1 med onion – rough chopped
- 2 8-10 inch butternut squash
- 2 inches fresh ginger – peeled
- 2 lg carrots – rough chopped
- 4 C low-sodium chicken stock
- 1.5 T ground coriander
- 1-2 t red pepper flakes
- 1 C heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Granny Smith apple – diced
- 1/2 cup small croutons
- Turn pressure cooker to sauté setting. Heat butter and oil and add onions, stirring occasionally until onions are translucent and starting to brown. Season with salt.
- While onions are sautéing: peel butternut squash, cut squash in half to expose seeds, scrape seeds and membrane out with a spoon and rough chop squash. *tip- you can peel your ginger with a spoon*
- Add squash, carrots, stock, coriander, and red pepper (more or less for desired heat level) to pressure cooker.
- Seal lid (make sure pressure valve is closed) and set cooker to manual cook and high pressure.
- Set timer and cook for 10 minutes. (Note- pressurization can take 15-20 minutes)
- When cook time is up, carefully release pressure valve. When all steam is released remove lid.
- Add heavy cream and blend with immersion blender until completely smooth.
- Serve soup topped with diced apple and croutons.