We’ve had a relatively mild winter here in Toronto this year and I think it’s affected the type of stuff we’re making for dinners. We usually make a lot of soups, chilis and stews during the winter but this year? Not so much.
We HAVE a had a few icy days though and on one such day, I happened to have booked off from work and was wasting the hours lying around in my pjs. I wanted to take advantage of the fact that I had the day off to make something decent for dinner – but we didn’t have a tonne of groceries and there was no way I was going to the store, and so I had to settle for what we had in the condo.
We’d bought a butternut squash a few weeks prior and it was still sitting around so I decided that it would be the perfect day to make some soup! I went through a few of our cookbooks looking for an appealing recipe and finally settled on the Butternut-Apple Soup from Appetite For Reduction. I have an aversion to overly sweet soups though so I adapted it to suit my palate a bit more and spiced it up with a fiery jerk spice mix. I also cut the apple juice back a bit and used more vegetable broth.
This made approximately 7 servings.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, diced small
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1tablespoon dry jerk spice
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used a fancy pacific smoked salt I had but obviously any will do)
1 medium-sized butternut squash, seeded and cut into hunks (You can peel first of you want to but I am lazy so I roasted first and then peeled)
3 apples peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1.5 cups apple juice
2.5 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Optional garnish: Handful of roughly chopped cilantro, 1 diced green onion, 1 tbsp plain non-fat greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 400F. Place squash hunks in a pan, brush with 1 tbsp or so olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for approximatley 30-40 mins, or until soft. Now this step is important: ALLOW TO COOL before scooping out the flesh. I did not do this and I BURNED THE HELL out of my fingers. OUCH! Set aside your roasted squash and toss out the peel.
Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onions in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent.
Mix up a spice blend of the jerk seasoning, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary and salt, and add to the pot. Sauté for a minute more. Add the squash, apples, apple juice and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat just a bit and simmer briskly for about 20 more minutes.
Puree the soup using either an immersion blender or by transferring half the soup at a time to a food processor or blender in batches. If using a blender, be sure to let the steam escape so that it doesn’t build up in the blender.
Add the lime juice and season to taste.
When we went to serve this, I garnished with a few chopped up green onions (or scallions as you Americans say), and some roughly chopped cilantro. I also swirled in a tablespoon of non-fat, plain greek yogurt to cool down the heat of the jerk spices (although obviously this makes it non-vegan. I’m sure a good vegan yogurt substitute would work as well).
Verdict: Nice and spicy without being too sweet. A great icy winter night dinner. I froze the leftovers in lunch-sized containers and now I have a quick lunch for those days I am running late.