Get a double dose of fruits and veggies with butternut squash soup
One of the top New Year’s resolutions every year is to eat healthier and get more exercise. I can’t help with the exercise part but my recipe for Butternut Squash and Pear Soup is for you if one of your goals is to eat healthier.
This is a hearty, gluten-free, and nutritious soup that is incredibly delicious without heavy cream. And, it's loaded with vegetables, including fennel, and even has pears thrown in the mix.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Despite its creamy deliciousness, Butternut Squash and Pear Soup with Fennel is the very essence of low-calorie cooking, coming in at only 147 calories per serving. We love it, and I know you will too.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Plus, it's a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet. And, a bonus if you have picky eaters in your house, they won't even know they are eating vegetables unless you tell them.
Butternut Squash and Pear Soup with Fennel
3 pounds butternut squash
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion - peeled and chopped
1 shallot - peeled and chopped
1 fennel bulb - cored and sliced
2 celery stalks - sliced thinly
1 clove garlic - peeled and chopped
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. kosher salt - divided
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper - divided
6 cups vegetable broth - low-sodium, or chicken broth
2 ripe pears, - peeled, cored and chopped
2 strips orange peel - no pith
Optional garnish: roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds and leftover fronds from the fennel.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
To roast the squash, rub the flesh with a little olive oil and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper and place it in a 425-degree oven. Roast for about 60 minutes, or until you can easily pierce the flesh with a fork. When done, let it cool, pull the peel off and cut into cubes. Set aside.
To make the soup, add olive oil to a Dutch Oven and heat over low heat. Add chopped onions and shallot. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp of salt and cook about 10 minutes, or until the onions start to soften. Add sliced fennel, celery, garlic, and 1/2 tsp more salt and cook, stirring often, for about 10-15 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft.
Stir in the ginger, cumin, and nutmeg, and add the roasted squash. Pour in the vegetable broth and increase the heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low so the soup can simmer.
Add the peeled and chopped pears and the orange peel. (Use a vegetable peeler to peel your orange. If there is any pith attached to the peel, use a very sharp knife and gently scrape or cut it off.)
Partially cover the pot and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the pears and squash are tender enough to mash easily with a fork.
Remove from the heat, and use an immersion blender, puree the soup. Taste and add additional salt if needed and 1/4 tsp of pepper. If the soup is too thick, you can add a little more vegetable broth.
Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a few drops of fresh lemon juice.
If desired, garnish with lemon slices, a sprig of the fennel frond and some roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
When buying butternut squash, look for one that is a solid beige color without any deep cuts or bruises. It also should feel heavy for its size and, if you give it a thump, it should sound hollow inside.
Butternut squash will keep well in a cool, dark part of your kitchen for several weeks. It does not need to be kept in the refrigerator.
If you have never cut up a butternut squash they can be a little intimidating, but all you need is a sharp knife. To begin, cut a thin slice off of the top and bottom of the squash so that both ends are flat. Then, stand the squash up and holding the knife in both hands with the blade down, push it down and slice down the middle to cut it in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. A grapefruit spoon works best for this job.
To prepare the fennel for slicing, you first need to cut off the fronds. Then slice the bulb in half vertically and cut out the core in a wedge. Next, thinly slice the rest of the bulb.
You can substitute acorn squash for the butternut squash in this recipe.
Chicken stock or broth can also be substituted for vegetable stock.
And, speaking of substitutions, feel free to substitute apples for the pears in this recipe. Heck, you can even add an apple or two if you like.
You can make this soup ahead and it tastes even better the next day. To reheat, just put in a saucepan over medium-low heat. You can also store it covered in the fridge for up to four days. This soup also freezes well and can be stored in your freezer for up to two months in an airtight container.
If you don't have an immersion blender, you can puree the soup in batches in a blender. Be sure to place a folded-up kitchen towel over the top of the blender to prevent any steam or soup from splashing out.
Sharon Rigsby is the blogger behind Grits and Pinecones, a cooking and hospitality blog. Check out her recipes at www.gritsandpinecones.com.