Get SQUASHed!

by Chef Kris Etze on October 27, 2010

Just souper for fall!

It’s SOUPer time…

Fall is here and the crisp cool weather makes us crave soups and warming dishes. What’s not to like about a batch of soup that  requires minimal prep and cooking? Add some crusty bread, a simple salad and we have dinner! When doubled, it is easily frozen for future meals or lunches at work.

One of my flavor favorites for these days is Butternut Squash-Parsnip Soup with Thyme. The great news is that we roast the squash pieces without peeling them first, which can often be a challenge in itself. Squash pieces are roasted along with pieces of parsnip until soft and then the soup is simply finished in a pot by using a hand blender or blended in a food processor.

This recipe is vegetarian, but can be made deliciously vegan by substituting olive oil for butter and soy, rice or almond milk for the half and half, and vegetable broth for chicken broth.

Butternut Squash-Parsnip Soup with Thyme

3        Tablespoons butter

1         2-pound butternut squash, — washed, unpeeled, halved, seeded and cut into 8 pieces

1         pound parsnips — peeled, cut crosswise into 2 -inch pieces, thick end pieces cut lengthwise in half

1/4       cup water

1         onion halved, thinly sliced

2        teaspoons fresh thyme minced, or 3/4 tsp dried

4         cups low salt chicken broth

1         cup half and half

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large roasting pan with 1 T butter. Arrange squash pieces, skin side up, in the prepared roasting pan. Add parsnips and 1/4 cup water to pan. Cover pan with foil; bake until vegetables are very tender, about 50 minutes. Cool vegetables.

Meanwhile, melt remaining butter in heavy large skillet over medium low heat. Add onion and thyme; saute until onion is tender and golden, about 10 minutes.

Scrape the squash pulp mixture into the food processor (discard peels); add the parsnips and onion mixture.  Puree until smooth.  Mix in broth. Transfer mixture into heavy saucepan. Whisk in half and half. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. This soup may be prepared a day ahead and freezes beautifully.

Cover and refrigerate. Re-warm before serving.

Kris Etze is a personal chef and instructor. Learn more about Kris at www.abracadinner.com.

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