It was nostalgic cooking with butternut squash recently, a much-neglected activity since the early months of weaning both my children. It has literally been years since I have picked up this fruit, preferring instead to make pies, couscous, roasted veg dishes and soups with pumpkin instead.
Back in the day, I’d skin the Mr-Peanut-shaped, pale beige butternut, cube and steam it, then whizz it into the most attractive orange-colored puree that the children both lapped up with enthusiasm (from 7 months onwards), sometimes with pear or apple, but mostly unadulterated. There would be gallons of this, and dozens of other purees – avocado and pear, sweet potato, spinach and apple, carrot, lentil, prune and oatmeal, chickpea, apple, pear, apricot, peach, nectarine, mango. Everything would be lovingly chopped, steamed or baked, liquidized, frozen in ice-cube trays, then popped out into neatly labeled baggies, ready for mix-n-match baby meals. By the time the kids started to eat regular food, I was exceedingly happy and grateful not to need to countenance another butternut squash again for a while.
Fast forward five years, in tribute to those memorable days, to the season’s bounty of fruit and squash, and to the fact that both children are still good eaters, here’s that puree again, reincarnated as a rich and nutty soup for the family, flavored with apple and aromatic spices.
- butternut squash, 1, skinned, chopped into a few pieces
- apples, 4, skinned, cored and halved. Drizzle with lemon juice
- cinnamon, 2-3 tbsp
- nutmeg, 1/2 tsp
- ginger, fresh and grated, 3 tsp
- vegetable stock, 3-4 cups
- celery, 3 sticks
- shallot, 1, chopped
- butter, 1 tbsp
- olive oil, 1/2-1 tbsp
- sage leaves, 2
- lemon juice, 1 tbsp
- Preheat the oven to 420F
- Place the butternut squash and apples, drizzled with some oil and with some cinnamon sprinkled over them, in the oven and bake about 30-40 minutes
- Allow to cool and chop further
- In a large saucepan, saute celery and onions till fragrant, add sage leaves
- Add the squash and apples and stock, along with the cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
- Allow to simmer, about 20 mins. Remove sage leaves
- Season and puree through a food processor till smooth, adding water or stock as needed
- The soup may be cooled and refrigerated at this stage
- Serve with a drizzle of neutral-fragrance oil (eg grapeseed) and some roasted pumpkin seeds
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I love soups such as this one, hearty but without cream or milk to clog your arteries. The photo alone warms me. Trader Joe's sells a version as well.