Butternut Squash & Leek Soup

First I’d like to dedicate this post to my mom, Regina Levine, not only because today is her birthday but because Butternut Squash soup is one of her favorite things I cook! And on that note…

Fall is here and so is my all time favorite vegetable Butternut Squash, well maybe second favorite after broccoli. Butternut squash is a type of winter squash with a sweet, nutty taste. When ripe, it turns increasingly deep orange, and becomes sweeter and richer. Butternut squash is similar in texture and taste to pumpkin, so they are easily interchangeable in most recipes.

The butternut and related species of squash originate from around Mexico – separate from pumpkins or “winter squash”, which originate in South America. Butternut squash actually grows on a vine. The most popular variety, the Waltham Butternut, originated in Stow, Massachusetts. Butternut squash is a vegetable that can be roasted and toasted and also be puréed or mashed into soups, casseroles, breads, and muffins. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A.

I liked this recipe, which has also been altered from Real Simple’s Pumpkin and Leek Soup recipe but I must admit that I prefer a sweeter Butternut Squash soup. In order to make the soup more sweet than savory, you can substitute the leeks for apples and add 1-1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon and possibly more than the 1/2 tsp nutmeg I added to the recipe. If you prefer a more savory butternut squash soup this recipe is great for you. The celery and leek give the soup a really great texture.

SUGGESTION: If you tend to make a lot of soups or purees, I’d suggest purchasing an IMMERSION HAND BLENDER. This blender costs around $50 and makes your cooking experience quick and easy to clean up. I have the KitchenAid immersion hand blender and absolutely love it!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts), sliced 1/4 inch thick and rinsed (can also substitute 2 peeled & diced apples)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium pumpkin or 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
  • 2 tbs low-fat sour cream or Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the leeks, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the pumpkin cubes and canned puree, then the broth & water. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 25 minutes and then add 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. Stir in 1 3/4 teaspoons salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

3. Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender and puree until smooth.

4. Divide among individual bowls and top with sour cream or Parmesan cheese.

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Expanding Hartley Confections.com Topics

I know I’ve just been a terrible blogger this month, so I decided to change things up a bit and expand the topics on my blog. Initially my intention was to write a “niche blog” about healthy baking. And not because niche sounds cool but because I think there are definitely people out there that are fairly into baking. But this past month I realized that I can’t bake 5 days a week. I mean, I wish I could but it’s just not in the cards for me right now.

So stay tuned for reviews on restaurants, recipes and pictures of various cuisines (mostly still healthy!), along with a few other goodies… Some upcoming posts will touch on:

  • Apple Pie
  • Fall Favorites
  • Laut (great Malaysian spot)
  • Spice Cove
  • Halloween!
  • And much much more!