Think autumn and one of the first things that pops up in my mind are the range of yellow and orange squashes of the season... the jack-o-lanterns... the pumpkin pies... and the yummy squash soups. One of my favorite squashes amongst many others is butternut squash. It's easy to cut (yes... that's a big one for me) and it tastes absolutely divine. I use it a lot in my cooking, and sometimes substitute it for pumpkin in one of our home recipes.
Butternut squash soup is my favorite soup to have in fall and winter, especially when combined with warming spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and thyme. I love adding sesame seeds and slivered almonds to make the soup thick and give it a nutty taste. For the garnish, I saute the squash peels on high heat with salt and turmeric till partially brown and crispy. My mom-in-law used to make a yummy sautéed peels side for us, so this idea comes from there.
This soup is packed with fibre and is great for the immune system, which needs a boost in transitional seasons such as Autumn. It's simple to make, takes approximately 30 minutes, and serves four people. Here's the recipe!
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium-sized organic butternut squash
2 tbsp. white sesame seeds (optional)
2 tbsp. almonds (slivered) (optional)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. red chilli powder (optional)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon powder
1/2 inch ginger (julienned)
5 sprigs of thyme
1.5 tsp. sea salt (approx. add as per taste)
Leftover squash peels (julienned)
Peel and cut the onion into cubes.
Wash the butternut squash well. Then, peel the squash, remove the seeds, and cut the squash into cubes.
Gather the peels and cut them into julienne pieces. Keep aside.
Heat a tbsp. oil in a pot. Add the onions and cook till slightly brown.
Add squash cubes, stir it once, and then add sesame seeds, almonds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, cinnamon powder, ginger, and thyme. Add salt to your taste and give it a good mix.
Cover the pot, reduce the heat to a medium-simmer and let the squash cook for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a tbsp. of oil in a pan. Add the julienned squash peels, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. turmeric and stir fry continuously on high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat and cover the pan for 2 minutes. Open the pan, increase the heat and stir fry again for 2 minutes or till partially crispy.
Turn off the squash soup after 20 mins. Open the lid of the pot and let the soup cool down. When it's partially cool, puree the soup and put it back on the stove to warm it up.
Serve hot. Garnish with crispy squash peels and sprigs of thyme. Enjoy with a piece of sourdough bread on the side!