Butternut Squash and Beer Soup

Butternut Squash is one of those vegetables I just haven't used in cooking.  At least, that's what I thought before.  As it turns out, canned pumpkin is sometimes actually canned squash as the vegetables are closely related (Here's a good blog post that breaks it down).  So, being that I've used canned pumpkin in Pumpkin Muffins and Pumpkin Pie, I may not be as inexperienced in the magic that is butternut squash as I previously recalled.  I can say, however, that I had never made any kind of soup with the vegetable!

I caught a cold recently and was up for something easy to eat.  I was recently sent a butternut squash and apple soup recipe by a co-worker and figured there couldn't be a better time to broaden my horizons and boost my immunities with a healthy vegetable soup.  The only other soups I've really made since I started blogging were both in the Crock Pot, with Crock Pot Vegetable Stew and Crock Pot Paprika Chicken and Vegetable Stew.  It was due time for some experimenting!

The fresh ingredients list called for a butternut squash, 2 apples (though I ended up only using one), an onion, a carrot, and one celery stalk.  I borrowed a dutch oven from my mom recently since she had an extra one and I wasn't quite up for making the investment yet, so I decided to put it to use for this recipe.


I started out by chopping up the vegetables.  I peeled the butternut squash and chopped it into large chunks, then did the same with the apples, removing the cores.


I also chopped the onion, celery, and carrot into finer pieces, then cooked them in some melted butter in the dutch oven.


After they were slightly cooked, I added the butternut squash and apples, then added the broth and water to the mix.  I heated the mixture to a boil, then reduced it to a simmer and covered the vegetables for 30 minutes.


Once the squash was fork-tender, I scooped the vegetables out using a slotted spoon and placed them in a blender where I pureed them until they were liquid.


I returned the finished vegetables to the pot, then added in some salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  I took a taste and found the mixture to taste like a very basic pumpkin soup.  At that point, I had an epiphany...beer would make this soup perfect!  I poured in about 1/3 of a beer (4 ounces) and let the mixture simmer for a few more minutes to cook the alcohol out.  My beer of choice for this project was one of my favorites: Yuengling.


Ok, beer made this recipe super flavorful and added a bit of sweetness.  For whatever reason, I had it in my head that a soup would take a significantly long amount of time, so I was pleasantly surprised at the fact this really only took about 40 minutes to cook.  I personally prefer a chunkier soup, so next time I will likely just blend up the squash and leave the other veggies alone or possibly throw some potato hunks in there too (vegetable chowder, anyone?).  I really wasn't picking up on the apple flavor, though the quantity was quite small compared to the amount of squash that was in there (it probably didn't help that my sinuses were demolished).  This recipe made quite a bit and lasted me until I was feeling better.  After this experience, I am definitely up for some more soup challenges soon!

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash
1 green apple
1 yellow onion
1 carrot
1 celery stalk
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
4 ounces beer

Instructions:

Peel butternut squash and chop into chunks about 2-3 inches in size. Peel and remove cores from apples and slice. Chop onions, carrots, and celery into small pieces. Heat a large saucepan or dutch oven on medium-high heat and melt butter. Add onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, until slightly browned. Add squash, apple, chicken broth and water. Bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat down and simmer for 30 minutes, or until squash and carrots are soft. Remove vegetables from pot, puree in a blender, and return to pot. Add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and beer, and continue simmering on medium-low heat for 5-10 more minutes.

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