If you’ve been to our house lately, you’ve seen the growing stash that is our basement cold storage. I’ve seen bumper squash and carrot seasons, but none like this. The kitchen partner and I have been gratefully filling our makeshift cellar with gifts from family and friends, mostly in the form of butternut squash and pumpkins. What’s a gal to do with a basement like this?

Butternut squash soup of course!

Now squash soup and I have a history of not getting along. For the past four seasons, I’ve been searching for a squash soup recipe that didn’t make me run for the hills. They’ve all had the texture of baby food or a “flat” taste. It’s not easy to get the rich, caramel flavors of roasted butternut squash into a soup pot. That is until I snagged a 2008 issue of Cook’s Country magazine from my grandma a few weeks ago. Inside was a recipe for a southwest butternut squash soup that trends less in the pumpkin-fall-spice flavors and more in the sweet-salty-hot chili area. I adjusted the ingredients for what we had in the fridge and made the final puréeing process less messy with a stick blender. It’s ready in just over an hour and is so good you’ll want to plan a weekend get-together just to share it.

Want to know how to have the squash to make soup all winter long? Check out my Simple Good and Tasty post on Urban Cold Storage: http://simplegoodandtasty.com/2012/01/11/the-urban-cellar-storing-veggies-in-your-home

Southwest Butternut Squash Soup 

Adapted from Cook’s Country Magazine

Ingredients 

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 1/2″ chunks (look for a large neck and small bulb for maximum squash flesh)
1 onion, chopped into 1 1/2″ chunks
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
4 C. vegetable stock
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. lime juice
1 1/2 tsp. taco seasoning (buy in bulk or make your own using this recipe)
1/4 C. skim milk
fresh cilantro, chopped
sour cream

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place chopped squash and onion in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until all pieces are evenly coated. Place in a single layer in a deep roasting dish in the oven for 45 minutes. When vegetables are fork tender and browned on the edges, add 1/2 cup of stock to the dish. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

2. Remove roasting dish from the oven and transfer entire contents to a large stock pot. Be sure to scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the roasting dish – this is where the extra flavor lives! Add remaining vegetable stock, honey, lime juice, taco seasoning and milk to the pot.

3. Turn on low heat and using an immersion/stick blender, purée the soup until thick with no large chunks remaining. Reheat until warmed through.

4. Ladle soup into 4 bowls, topping each with chopped fresh cilantro and a tablespoon of sour cream.

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