For me, one of the surest signifiers of chilly weather is soup, specifically butternut squash soup. My dad used to make this for us frequently growing up, and watching the sweet orange concoction cooking down on the stove and then thinning out in the blender always seemed comforting and fortifying, especially against the rapidly decreasing temperatures of autumnal Chicago. When we’d sit down at the dinner table, each plate would be garnished with a dollop of crème fraîche or sour cream and an herby sprig. Now I try to make this soup at least once each fall, and encounter trouble only when my feeble arms attempt to break down the squash itself.
I’ve used this recipe with the reduction of 6 cups of chicken stock to 3 (I like it chunkier), and the addition of some cayenne pepper:
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe [Courtesy of Cathy Lowe and foodnetwork.com]
1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
6 cups chicken stock [I used 3]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add squash and stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove squash chunks with slotted spoon and place in a blender and puree. Return blended squash to pot. Stir and season with nutmeg, [cayenne pepper] salt, and pepper. Serve.