Squash Soup with Citrus

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If you’re starting to feel the chill of winter (shoutout to the northern peninsula of Michigan with its 15 inch snowfall forecast!) this squash soup with citrus is exactly what you need.  The butternut squash will warm your belly and the time it takes to roast in the oven will warm your house.  It all comes together in about thirty minutes so you can quickly cozy back up on the couch.

My mom actually blended up this soup when I was visiting last weekend and it was so tasty that I had to share it.  Usually I find squash soups a little bland, but that is not the case here.  The lemon and orange zest add a lot of flavor, so please don’t skimp on those two ingredients.  While this soup fits perfectly into the fall since squash is in season, the citrus flavors really remind you of summer, which seems so far away now.  It’s also a hearty vegetarian dish to add to your soup rotation for the coming cold months.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium to large butternut squash
  • 5 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 TBSP orange zest
  • 1 TBSP lemon zest
  • handful of roasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 small sweet red pepper
  • small pinch of saffron threads
  • sprinkle of nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste

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The how:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Cut the ends off of the butternut squash, peel it, cut in half, remove the seeds and cut into chunks. Spread the squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 TBSP olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg.  Roast in the oven until the squash begins to caramelize, about thirty minutes.
  • While the squash is roasting, chop the onion, garlic carrots and celery.  In a large soup pot, drizzle the bottom with the remaining 3 TBSP of olive oil (no measuring necessary-just drizzle enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan).  Turn the pot onto medium-low and add the carrots, onions, garlic and celery.  When the veggies start to turn translucent and soft, stir in the saffron, lemon and orange zest.  After a few minutes, add a quart of water, turn the heat up to medium and allow the veggies to fully soften, about 15 minutes.
  • By now your squash should be starting to caramelize.  Add the soft squash to the soup pot.  Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender (welcome to the club!) simply add the soup to your regular blender little by little and puree.  It’s a little bit messier and delicate since the soup is hot, but it works just as well. Once the entire contents of the pot is pureed add salt if necessary.
  • Dish out the soup into small mugs and sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds and finely chopped sweet red peppers on top.
  • This recipe is enough to feed 8-10 people.  If you plan on reheating the soup, I recommend doing in on the stovetop on low heat.

 

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I don’t know about you, but I am chest (cheeks?) deep in soup season.  This is the fourth soup I’ve made in two weeks!  I love the simplicity of only having to watch over one pot and I have to admit I love standing next to a hot stove.  My fingers and toes are always freezing so I tend to stand over the soup and stir it the entire time.  Maybe I was a witch in a past life?

*This recipe was slightly altered from a recipe found in Rachel Ray magazine.
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