Sunday, October 17, 2010

LaRae's Harvest Butternut Soup

I just finished two bowls of a delicious butternut soup, full of flavor, creaminess and a touch of sweet from the squash and apple. It tasted like an autumn harvest in a bowl. Looking at the ingredients, it is also chocked full of nutrition and fabulous fiber. Finally, it is also vegetarian friendly and if you sub almond, soy or coconut milk for the half and half, it could easily be vegan.

I owe a big thanks to LaRae Weikert, for this recipe, who not only has good taste in food, but is one of my favorite editors and one of my most beloved, interesting and kind friends. Whenever we visit my husband's hometown of Eugene, Oregon, I love to meet with the 3 Amigos, all editors or writers: Carolyn McCready, Hope Lyda, and LaRae. I can count on those gals to pick a yummy restaurant and dive into interesting, honest, deep conversations with plenty of laughter on the side.

I titled LaRae's recipe, "Harvest Butternut Soup" as a nod to the publishing company (Harvest House) that these three beautiful women have worked with many years, and who published 9 of my books. Harvest House has been, far and away, my all time favorite publisher to work with and these three women have a lot to do with that.

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrot
1 cup chopped onion
1 apple chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Combine the squash (I roasted the squash in the oven for about 30 mins. and then added it to the vegetables and apple), celery, carrot, onion, and apple with the broth in a sauce pan. Cook until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Slightly cool the mixture before processing in blender or Cuisinart until pureed. Add enough half-and-half to make the soup creamy. (Becky's note: check seasonings to see if you may need to add a little sea salt or pepper.) Add a little nutmeg for flavor. Cook in a sauce pan over medium heat just until heated through.

Becky's Notes:
I topped my soup with a few buttered croutons, as you see in the picture above, but was thinking it would also be delicious topped with a teaspoon of roasted pumpkin seeds or pinenuts and perhaps a small dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Tip: If you are in a hurry, these steaming bags are real time-savers.

I used one to cook the butternut squash, another to cook the carrots and apple (I left the peel on, just removed seeds). It only takes 3 minutes in the microwave. While these vegies were cooking, I sauteed the onions and celery in a tiny bit of olive oil. Then continued cooking as directed above.

Another time-saver is to use frozen butternut squash, which usually works very well in soups.

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