Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Roast Butternut Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Dear readers, this soup  is absolutely delicious!!  Roasting the squash creates a rich, caramelized flavor that in the finished soup is amazing.  You can go ahead and cook the squash in the chicken broth, but it won’t be the same,  I’m telling you.   You will not believe the creaminess of this soup without the use of heavy cream.  And don’t even think about skipping the Parmesan croutons…..even it you use packaged ones instead of homemade.

I realize I’ve swooned over other soups,  but, with each new soup I make, I think it’s the best and it becomes my favorite, and the one last week is like “broccoli who?”.  January will best be remembered as soup month around here, and just in case you think I’m being a little over dramatic and that I need to go to some kind of soup-overload-rehab, you’re only thinking that because you haven’t made this one yet.

Even though the soup is perfectly seasoned according to the recipe, you may want to further perk up the flavor, by adding a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of garlic powder, being careful as to the amounts because each of these items can be quite strong.

BUTTERNUT SOUP WITH PARMESAN CROUTONS

YIELD:  Makes  2 quarts or about 8 servings

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Butternut squash, onion, garlic, celery and chicken broth, plus seasonings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes**
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • herb mixture, such as Fine Herbs, Italian Herb mix, Herbs de Provence
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. minced fresh sage, or 2 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz. each) reduced sodium chicken broth (vegetarians may substitute vegetable broth)
  • Croutons:
  • 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh sage or 1 tsp. dry rubbed sage
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups cubed French bread ( 1/2-inch cubes)
  • cooking spray
  • additional grated Parmesan cheese, optional

**As a small savings in time, you may want to use precut squash cubes from the market.  I prefer to peel and cut my squash because I feel that it is fresher when purchased whole, and not as likely to be dried out.

Directions:

1.  Place squash in a 15-in. x 10-in. baking pan lightly coated with cooking spray.  Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon oil; sprinkle with pepper, and sprinkle on a small amount of herb mixture.  Toss to coat.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Dice squash, drizzle with olive oil, pepper and herbs, then bake.

Bake, uncovered, at 425*F for 30-35 minutes or until tender, stirring every 15 minutes.  Set aside.  This will smell wonderful when it comes out of the oven and you will want to eat it, but please don’t.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

Roasted squash pierces easily and has some browned edges.

2.  While squash is roasting, in a Dutch oven, saute the onion, celery and sage in remaining oil until tender.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery and garlic.

Slowly sauté the onions, celery,  garlic and sage.

Stir in the broth and squash.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes to allow flavors to blend.  Cool slightly.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

Add squash and chicken broth to Dutch oven.

3.  In a blender, or with an immersion blender, puree soup until smooth.  Return to the pan;  heat through. This makes a thick mixture.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

Puree the mixture for a thick, wonderfully flavorful soup.

If you prefer a thinner soup, add some additional broth, and rebalance the seasoning if necessary.

4.  For croutons, in a small bowl, combine the cheese, oil, sage and garlic.  Add bread cubes and spritz with cooking spray; toss to coat.  Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

5.  Bake at 425*F. for 5 – 8 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally.  Sprinkle each serving of soup with croutons and additional cheese if desired.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Top soup with Parmesan croutons and enjoy.

Nutritional Profile:  1 cup of soup with 1/4 cup croutons equals 179 calories, 8 g. fat, 1 mg cholesterol,  541 mg sodium, 25 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber,  5 g protein.

SOURCE:   Adapted from Taste of Home

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