Butternut Squash Soup

Note: I don’t measure, usually; so these measurements are approximate. It’s more like a little bit of this and a lot of that; whatever I have on hand that works.

1 butternut squash, baked whole, for about an hour at 400 degrees, until the meat is very soft, then cut in half lengthwise, seeds discarded
1 small, thin sweet potato, about 5 inches long, baked, and then skin discarded
1/3 large sweet onion, chopped
2 large, red “A” potatoes, skin on, chopped
Generous splash of extra virgin olive oil into a large soup pot
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of dried chili pepper flakes
Generous amount of granulated garlic or 3-4 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 12-inch sprig of fresh rosemary, cut in two to fit in the pot
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves
1/2 stick (1/8 pound) of butter, unsalted
24 ounces of chicken broth (I use Imagine brand)
Vegetable broth – here I used about 1/3 cup of artichoke broth left from an artichoke I steamed and then saved the broth in a Mason jar in the fridge
3 cups of low-fat buttermilk (make sure the kind you buy has no additives)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
sour cream
bacon bits (I buy my bacon bits from the supermarket salad bar)

Splash olive oil into the pot, add onion, red potatoes, salt, pepper flakes, garlic and rosemary. As onion and potatoes soften and the oil cooks down, add the butter.

When the butter melts, add the vegetable broth, chicken broth and most of the thyme.

Bring to a boil and then simmer until the vegetables are tender – about 15 minutes. Remove the rosemary and discard.

Let cool a bit. Then add soup mixture to a blender together with spoonfuls of cooked squash and sweet potato, and brown sugar; puree. When you run out of enough liquid to operate the blender, add buttermilk, until when you’ve pureed all the soup ingredients, you’ve added about 3 cups of buttermilk. (If you have a hand blender that you can just stick into the pot, all the easier.) These amounts of liquid will vary according to the amount of solid ingredients. The desired end is for the soup to be thick and rich.

Place the pureed soup back into the pot, heat, and add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste.

Serve in soup bowls topped with a generous dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of fresh thyme leaves and bacon bits. Serves 4-6.

One of the many benefits of having a dog is that they vacuum the kitchen floor when you’re done cooking. They also take sandwiches out of little kids’ hands. ~

–Samantha Mozart