Eat In / It's Fare

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Pomegranate and Roasted Feta Swiss Chard

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If you’re in the mood to wrestle a butternut squash, they’re in season and make a pretty darn good soup. Once you get past the cleaving, peeling and dicing phases you’re good to go on this delicious winter soup. Here’s what you need for 6 one-cup servings:

  • Two butternut squashes
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
  • 7 c water
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar
  • 1 pomegranate worth of airls (fancy word for the seeds)

Tame your squash

FullSizeRender (5)First thing you gotta do is crack open that little bugger and cut it all up. Not for the faint of heart, this is no easy feat and you may get blisters. Julia Child suggests using a mallet and a cleaver to crack open the squash, but for the average at-home-chef without fancy torture cooking utensils, a big knife works just fine. Butternut squashes are protected by quite a tough skin. To make it easier to cut open, pop it in the microwave for 4-5 minutes to soften the shell a little bit. Once it’s cool, wash it (so as to not dirty your cutting board!) and then begin your cutting. Here’s what I did with the help of the interwebs and Simply Recipes:

  1. Using a big ass knife, slice the bottom off the squash (about 1/4 inch or so). Do this first so when you stand the squash up, its nice and level and easier to manipulate. Also chop off the top because you probs don’t want to eat the stem.
  2. Using a vegetable peeler (I used a standard potato peeler) peel the skin off your squash.
  3. Using that big knife again (and potentially all your weight), slice the squash length wise and scoop out the seeds and stringy, gunky stuff with a spoon.
  4. Then slice and dice up that squash till you get small pieces. I sliced mine in strips kind of like cantaloupe because a) I was tired b) I was getting a blister (I kid you not) c) I knew I was just going to blend them all up anyways, so it didn’t really matter what shape they were in. Obviously the rule applies, the smaller you cut them the faster they cook. Also you want the pieces to be somewhat uniformly sized so they cook evenly.

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Spice up your squash’s life

Next we come to the cooking part of our squash adventure. You can alter or change any of the spices as you see fit. I’ve been reading the Julia Child’s 1989 The Way to Cook cookbook and she’s always telling me to “season to taste” and “correct seasoning” but if I’ve never cooked the dish, how am I supposed to know what it’s supposed to taste like?! So if you’re feeling adventurous go wild and put your own twist on the soup, otherwise stick to what I have here and you’ll get a smooth butternut squash soup with a little kick.

  1. Heat a sauce pan and add in your chopped squash, chopped onion, olive oil and salt. Sauté until the squash browns, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add in about 7 cups of water. Add in all your spices and a dash of vinegar. Cover and simmer for about 45 minutes until squash is soft.
  3. Remove the lid and bring to a boil. Do this for 5-10 minutes until the squash broth reduces down about 1/3.
  4. Allow the soup to cool and either a) eat as is because you’re impatient and hungry or b) ladle the soup into a blender (I used a Nutribullet!) and blend until smooth.
  5. Add some color to your squash and top with pomegranate.
  6. Take a picture and let us know how it turns out!

Give your squash a friend

As delicious as this soup is, don’t leave your lovely squash hanging out on the dinner table alone. Give your bright yellow squash a playful green friend with this divine recipe for Roasted Swiss Chard and Feta. It’s simple and basically heaven in your mouth. Here’s what you need for 6 half-cup servings:

  • 1 bunch of swiss chard (∼15 leaves)
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 2 Tbsp olive-oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/3 c feta cheese

Destem your swiss chard (I just ripped off the stems with my hands). Dice the red onion and stems. Toss with half the olive oil and salt.  Bake in the oven at 350 for about 15 minutes until the stems and onion soften. Meanwhile chop up the leaves of the swiss chard and toss with remaining oil. Pop it in the oven on top of the stems and bake for about 10 minutes until the leaves soften. Sprinkle with feta cheese and bake for 5 more minutes. Take out of the oven and try not to eat it all in one sitting. It’s actually that good.

Slice up some french bread for dipping and you’re good to go with this healthy, fresh vegetarian meal!

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