Friday, January 29, 2010

The King of Squashes

  • I eat butternut squash all through fall and winter. It is packed with vitamins A and C, several B vitamins, and minerals such as potassium, manganese and tryptophan, an amino acid that helps you make seratonin and helps your body fight stress, relax and sleep. 
  • Nothing beats the easy preparation and incredible versatility of this vegetable. I mash it for a side dish, turn it into pancakes, or add it to pasta along with leeks and hazelnuts. But my all-time favorite is my Gingered Butternut Squash soup.
  • Gingered Butternut Squash Soup

  • 1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded 
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 4 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 cups (or more) vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place squash, cut side down, on baking sheet. Bake until squash is very soft, about 50 minutes. Using paring knife, remove peel from squash; discard peel.
Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-low heat. Saute onion until lightly brown. Add maple syrup, ginger, garlic, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cover pot and cook for 5 minutes. Add squash, apple, pecans and chicken broth. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.
Puree using a submersible blender. Season soup with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, thinning soup with more broth if necessary. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with chopped apple, toasted pumpkin seeds and a sprinkle of olive oil.

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