Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Remember To Make Memories At The Table

Nonna used To Say...

Got Agita? It's Not What You Eat; It's What Eats You

Friday, January 1, 2010

Busy Woman's Butternut Squash Soup

No one does culinary shortcuts better than Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee. Her only flaw? Too perfect. Let's face it..On a given day, I clean up fine, no not my house, me. Or my tablescape (as she calls it) has an artistic flair (kind of) or my meal has been given a five-star rating, BUT...all 3 elements at the same time...I-don't-think-so. I don't have Sandra's beauty, her money (she earned it), hours to pull it all together, or ingredients galore. I couldn't imagine changing my curtains, my outfit and the paint on my walls to match the tablecloth of the day. What I do have is the good fortune of having a Mom who put a feast on the table after a full day of teaching school and seeing to the care of her husband and 7 children. And to have the good fortune of inheriting some of her culinary skill. At 80 something, she's still turning out mouth-watering meals. More on Mom in another blog. Anyway, each New Year one of my resolutions is to cook many meals over the weekend so I have fantastic meals throughout the week. Like that's ever gonna happen. So like some working women...I plan that night's menu while putting on my eyeliner in the morning. It's a vague menu at that, the main ingredient is yanked out of the freezer to defrost. The point is this...a wonderful meal doesn't have to be made from total scratch, more than proving Ms. Lee right. Example. A few months ago, I decided to make Butternut Squash Soup. It's not something my meat-and-potato-husband would normally enjoy, but we had Thanksgiving Dinner at a quaint B&B in the Berkshires this year and the choice for soup was Clam chowder or Butternut Squash Soup. Now, to a meat-and-potato man clam chowder is never gonna pass his lips, so Butternut Squash soup it was. The fact that it was delicately flavored with cinnamon, ginger, clove (had he known that spice was in it he wouldn't have ordered it) and brown sugar made it a recipe that I knew I'd attempt at home. So when a local farmer dropped off a case of butternut squash to my work place...I knew it was a sign from heaven to give that soup a try. AND it took a whole damn day to make it. I nearly broke a knife and wrenched my wrist cutting that sucker in half. I roasted it in the oven for over an hour oh did I tell you what a pain those seeds were to clean out? Let it cool...and I mean let-it-cool. It's New Year's Day and I just took the gauze off my fingers. Scooped out all the good stuff, then put it in a pot with lots of veggie broth, seasonings, spices, that lovely touch of brown sugar and let it simmer away. Last but not least, I added heavy cream to it and a bit of this and that. I would say Voila! but that would make it sound like this soup happened in a Yes, it was delicious...double delicious, but.... I found out after the fact, er after the work...that I could buy a bag of frozen butternut squash in the supermarket add all the other ingredients and Voila! it could be done in a jiffy. Cheating you say? Not as wholesome? Oh, poppycock. Once a veggie like butternut squash is tossed into a pot of broth, seasoned, spiced, and drowned in ya think it mattered that it was fresh from a farm, hacked apart, roasted, scooped out at the cost of a whole day, burned finger tips, wrenched wrist and utter exhaustion? I-Don't-Think-So. Semi-Homemade is a word that every busy, working (outside or inside the home) woman should have in her vocabulary. I doubt I will ever find the time to cook several meals over the weekend for that week's suppers...But I will always have the time and strength to tear open a bag of butternut squash, add a little of this and that and have a tasty, wholesome meal any day of the week...and a meal that a meat-and-potato husband will love. Thank you, Sandra.... I can't imagine anyone actually reading this blog. But I think it's healthy to have some place to go and put to "paper" what is in one's head (and heart). So, I'm going to write what I enjoy and if someone else enjoys it...well...the better for it. Make Memories. N
2 good size butternut squash: halved lengthwise & seeded
Or see post for shortcut
1 c chopped onion
1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
1 t allspice or pumpkin spice
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
4 cups of vegetable broth
1 t salt
1/2 pint heavy cream
Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and place the squash cut side down. Pierce each squash several times with a fork and bake covered with foil until tender 45 min to 60 min. Let squash cool, then scrape out squash meat, discarding peel.
In a large stock pot, melt butter over med. heat. Add onion and sugar and cook, stirring until onion is soft (10 min). Add spices and cook 1 min stirring constantly. Add the butternut squash, broth, and salt and stir to mix. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30-45 min. With an immersion blender stick, puree the soup on high speed. Add more spices or sugar to your taste if desired. Then add cream and cook for 5 min. Yields 6 servings. Enjoy! This freezes well, too
* 2 bags of diced frozen butternut squash from the supermarket works, too!
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Remember To Make Memories At The Table
original recipe from chef E. Lagasse, 2000 has been altered


  1. I am going to wait for you to come to Florida and make it for me :)

  2. You're the best soup maker I know, Joan. You'll do a great job with this one. N