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Autumn has set in for sure – every year it drags me in kicking and screaming, but once I admit it’s here, I can enjoy it!  I love squash and other lovely autumnal things, so when I went to Trader Joe’s this weekend I picked up a butternut squash.  Today was a chilly and awful sort of day, with a big scoop of work crap piled right on top so tonight’s food needed to be both easy and comforting.

After perusing some ideas for my soup on the internet, I decided I would prefer to roast my squash rather than boil it.  Since I was getting the oven hot, I went ahead and roasted some onion and garlic as well.  I livened up the heaviness of the squash with some cayenne and ginger, mixed in some cream for body, and topped it with fresh cilantro. Here is my result:

Before I get to the recipe itself, some notes: you can use any sort of stock in this, but if you use bouillon cubes I have a trick.  I’ve come across many recipes that say to make up X cups of stock and then warn you that you might not use all the stock.  I hate wasting things, including fractions of bouillon cubes, but I *do* love flavor.  So if you decide to use bouillon cubes, mash them in with the squash when you first add it to the pot, and then add as much water as makes you happy.  I didn’t weigh my squash before starting this (rookie mistake!) so it will really depend on your squash to know how much water you need to add.  If you use ground ginger, make sure to get it from an Asian grocer or reputable spice distributor.  The ground ginger you get in the grocery store does NOT compare to “real” ground ginger.  There’s a nice heat to a good ground ginger that McCormack just can’t get the hang of. So, on to the recipe!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

1 medium sized butternut squash
1 sweet onion, medium sized
2 large cloves of garlic
olive oil
butter
salt
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable, if you prefer)
1/4 tsp ground ginger (fresh would work too, just grate some into the pot)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
fresh cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 400°.  Cut your butternut squash down the middle, lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Put the squash in a roasting pan with 1/4 inch of water, and coat the exposed flesh with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt.   Put a pat of butter in the hole left by the seeds.  Cover the pan with tin foil.  Cut the onion into quarters, removing any papery skin, and place on a cookie sheet.  Put garlic on the cookie sheet, still in its skin.  Drizzle these both with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Put both pans in the oven for 30-45 minutes, or until squash can be pierced with no resistance.  You may find the onions roast more quickly, but they should lose their shape a bit and be slightly brown.

After letting the vegetables cool for a few minutes, scoop the squash out of its skin with a spoon, and transfer to a medium sized pot; discard skins.  Move onions to pot and squeeze the garlic out of its skin into the pot, and discard the skins.  Mash the stock cubes if you’re using them and add ONE cup of hot water (or just one cup of stock).  Whiz this with an immersion blender, or if you don’t have one, put these in a regular blender and then transfer to a pot.  At this point, put the heat on low – we don’t need to cook it much, but I like it to simmer for a few minutes.  Check the consistency of the soup and add more liquid until it reaches a texture you prefer – I used 1 1/2 cups.  Add your spices, adding more if you like!  Add the cream, salt and pepper and just let it simmer for a few minutes. Serve, garnishing with the chopped cilantro.

This was such a good meal!  It’s a light one, as far as paleo goes, but I just didn’t need that much food tonight.  It was the perfect meal on this chilly evening. 🙂

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