Sunday, September 30, 2012
What a beautiful run it was this morning! The fog was still hanging low at 9. We chose to run through the trails of The North Carolina Arboretum and Bent Creek Experimental Forest. The run included 9.5 miles of single track trail and gravel paved forest roads. More than half of the run was along water, Bent Creek itself and Lake Powhatan which is in the above photo. By the time we were done the fog was gone, the skies were blue, our bellies were hungry, and our bodies were tired. I must say it was the most perfect last day of September ever!
In honor of the coming Fall season I decided to spend the afternoon knitting on a sweater and making butternut squash soup. The sweater is almost complete. One sleeve is lacking 4 inches. I'd love to complete it tonight. I might have to bail. I might just have to go to bed. That run has me tuckered out and the warm soup has me feeling satisfied for the night.
Butternut squash is one of the more common hard winter squashes. I've chosen it today because it is so easy to find. This soup can be made completely vegan, vegetarian, or with chicken. I chose the vegan version but will tell how to make each.
Butternut Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash
1 large sweet yellow onion
1/2 heart of celery
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp powdered ginger
1 can coconut milk (for the vegan version)
1 cup milk (for the vegetarian version)
4 quarts chicken stock (for the meat eaters)
1 pound diced cooked chicken breast (also for the meat eaters)
Peel and dice the squash. I cut it into rounds and then cut off the edges of the rounds before dicing up. It seems easier for me to peel it that way. Clean and chop the celery. You don't need to cut the celery too small.. Slicing at about every 1/4-1/8 inch along the stock is fine. I used the leaves too. As long as they look good they are fine to eat. Peel and coarsely chop the onion.
All the cut veggies go into a very large pot and are covered with water. Unless you are planning to do the chicken version and then you are adding the chicken stock instead of water. The salt and spices are also added at this point. Then it is a nice long slow simmer until the veggies are soft through. This is where the knitting comes in handy. Knit a few rows and then stir the pot.
Once everything was cooked through my pot looked like this. If you are making the chicken version here is where you add the diced chicken breast.
It can be served up as is or blended with coconut milk or milk to make a creamed soup. Here is what the chunky soup looks like.
I added a can of coconut milk and blended it with a hand blender. This task could also be completed using a food processor and processing in small batches. Once blended I served it garnished with roasted pumpkin seeds.