Sunday, October 7, 2012

Slow Cooker Recipe: Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

 Last Friday was both a good and bad day in the kitchen. I tested out of new pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe that I was super excited about. A pumpkin cookie and oatmeal cookie combined, it sounded like a match made in heaven. However, I wasn't impressed with the cookies. Not only did they have no pumpkin flavor, they were bland all around, at least in my opinion, but I hold oatmeal cookies to a very high standard. Eric wasn't thrilled with them either. But Chuck and Edye, his parents, loved them--though they couldn't taste any pumpkin either. I'm still in love with the idea of pumpkin oatmeal cookies so I'll have to invent my own eventually, but probably not until next fall.

Now onto the good--kind of. I have wanted to make squash soup for years; I just never got around to it. I've also always wanted to carved a butternut squash into a jack 'o lantern a la Martha Stewart.

But after cubing and peeling a butternut squash, I lost that desire. As much as I love to use fresh ingredients, next time I think I'm using frozen squash cubes. Anyway, this squash soup turned out superb. I did have some mishaps while making it though. I've mentioned before that I have carpel tunnel. While as I was pouring the soup into the food processor, I dropped it. Squash soup went everywhere--the counter, the wall, the floor, my hair, down the front of me. Luckily, most of the soup was already in the food processor. Sigh.

I paired the soup with my southwestern chicken paninis. I also think the soup would really go good with Paula Dean's Grilled Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Sandwich with Red Onion Mayo. I've made this sandwich before and it's divine. However, I use my own red onion mayo recipe.

2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, chopped
2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
3 to 4 cups chicken stock*
1 tablespoon dried basil**
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
6 ounces low fat cream cheese, cubed

In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add the onion and saute.

Add onions, squash, 3 cups chicken stock, and basil to the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. In batches, pour the soup into a food process and blend until smooth. Return the mixture to the slow cooker and add the cream cheese. Some people like a thicker soup, other prefer a thinner soup. Add the remaining chicken stock until you reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 to 60 minutes. Stir occasionally.

*Reduce the chicken stock to around 2 to 3 cups and you have a yummy squash sauce to pour over pasta, chicken breasts, cheese ravioli, or to use in a lasagna or casserole.

**You can change up the flavor of this recipe so easily. Just sub out the basil for oregano, sage, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice. I also think that a little bacon crumbled on top of a bowl of this soup would be delicious.

Between all the cooking I did today, I think the recipe that stole the day was the  roasted winter squash seeds. I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but I had forgotten that butternut squash even had seeds until I opened it up. I immediately wondered if I could roast them. Guess what? You can and there are delicious. So next time you have butternut or acorn squash, save the seeds and roast them!



Also Check These Fall Recipes:  
Apple Rings
Applesauce Cookies with Caramel Frosting
Cheese Tortellini in a Pumpkin Sauce
Cinnamon-Sugar Pastry with Pumpkin Dip
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Baked Apple Chips
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
Pumpkin Caramels!

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