I’ve been trying to improve my photography and realize lighting is key. I’m lucky enough to have a hubby who understands these things and wants to help—though I can only handle the information he offers in small amounts. It doesn’t take long for me to become overwhelmed by all the details of lighting and camera settings. So, baby steps, folks, baby steps.
Good natural light is already fading fast since daytime is getting shorter and shorter. By picture taking time (after a day’s work and the actual cooking) it’s late and the good light is gone. It means I need to journey into the world of artificial light, color balancing, and who knows what else. I’m not trying to win any awards here, but being a visual person I’m always hoping for a picture that’s appealing.
This picture turned out very vibrant—which suits this soup because it’s vibrant in color and in taste. The butternut squash is a beautiful shade of orange and since there aren’t a lot of extra ingredients to alter it the soup maintains the beautiful color of the squash.
Let’s talk about something more important than the picture—the flavor. Out of this world. Slightly sweet, slightly spicy, smooth and creamy. And, it’s packed with antioxidants, Vitamin A and fiber. Very, very healthy.
The cool thing about this recipe is you can use it a few different ways. The roasted squash and veggies would be a great side dish right out of the oven. A quick puree with a little dash of spices and some cider and you have a great mashed squash to pair with a delicious fall entree like Big Black Dog’s Chicken with Apple Cider Sauce. Or, go the extra step to make the soup. It’ll be worth it. In fact, it was so good I had it for breakfast the next day. What a terrific warm start to a chilly day.
Roasted Butternut Soup
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
½ large or a whole small onion
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 red apple (like Delicious or Gala)
1 cup water or chicken stock
1 cup apple cider
1 ½ teaspoons curry powder
Pinch of nutmeg
½ teaspoon minced fresh ginger
¼ cup dry sherry (optional)
¼ cup coconut milk (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Peel the squash down to the orange meat. Dice into one inch cubes and place onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Peel and coarse dice the onion and apple and add to the squash. Sprinkle all with olive oil, maple syrup, salt and pepper to taste and toss to coat. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the squash is fork tender.
Remove the pan from the oven. When cool enough to handle add the squash mixture to a food processor equipped with a blade and pulse until it’s a smooth puree. Add the water or chicken stock and pulse until combined.
Pour the puree into a large pot set on medium heat. Stir in the spices and apple cider. Taste and adjust spices to suit your taste. If the soup is too thick for your liking you can add more water, chicken broth, or cider until it reaches the consistency you want.
Heat the soup until it just simmers. Stir in the sherry and/or coconut milk. Warm for another minute or two and then serve.