Soups On! Butternut Squash

As we know, it was the Native Americans who introduced the colonists to squash and pumpkin when they first landed in North America. This popular winter gourd can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt and was also discovered in Peru. 

This is the perfect soup to get you in the mood for autumn. It's hearty and feels good on a cold night. It also makes a nice side if you want to start with soup at your Thanksgiving meal. It's the ideal soup to store in the fridge for a couple of days and is easy to freeze and thaw when needed. 

The most difficult task of this recipe is chopping the tough ol' squash. One of the easiest ways to deal with it is to poke a few holes in the squash and place it in the microwave until it has softened. Or you can cheat like I did and buy butternut squash already chopped and found in the salad section of your favorite and trusted supermarket. I rinse well the pre-chopped squash and pick through it sometimes removing a seed or two. 

The basic recipe is easy to make your own by adding your favorite spices and herbs such as curry spices or cinnamon and nutmeg for a Middle Eastern or Thai flare. A dash of sherry vinegar and the addition of chopped Granny Smith apples give the soup a brighter taste of autumn. It's also the perfect soup to prepare for the vegetarian in your life, and especially for the vegan by swapping out the butter and using all olive oil and vegetable stock. Want more of a cream-style soup? Add a half-cup or more of milk or cream. 


  • 2 Tbsp butter, or 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 1 rib of celery, chopped

  • 1 medium carrot, chopped

  • 1-2 medium Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock, more or less  

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • In a large Dutch oven or your favorite soup cauldron, add the above vegetables and saute in your choice of butter and/or olive oil. Cook just enough to warm up the vegetables and get them coated with butter and/or olive oil. Cover the vegetables with stock. The amount of stock that covers the vegetables will determine the consistency of the finished soup so add accordingly. Add salt and pepper to taste, including any personal choice of spices or herbs. 

  • Bring the vegetables to a boil over medium-high heat, and then reduce to low heat. Cover with a lid and let cook for 30-40 minutes until the vegetables are soft, especially the squash. Now is the moment to decide, do you want the soup creamy, extra creamy, or chunky like a chowder. For a creamy soup, an immersion blender will do the trick right in the same pot, or let the soup cool and transfer it to a blender. I use a handheld potato masher and prep the soup with the consistency of chowder.  

  • Once served in a bowl, add to the soup your favorite toppings like chives, green onions, bacon, croutons, a dollop of sour cream, and on the side a slice of warm cornbread. 

  • Wine recommendations: Any label of riesling from the Walla Walla Valley. 

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