Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

According to the cool cloud cover, it's soup season. This is a recipe I made up last winter, combining a lot of my favorite things: butternut squash, smoky chipotle peppers, and creamy coconut milk. Although it may sound strange, don't leave out the Granny Smith apple if you can help it; it adds just the right amount of tartness to the dish. If you make the recipe with vegetable broth and omit the sour cream or yogurt topping, you've got a delicious vegan recipe. You can also add red peppers or your other favorite veggies, and you can easily substitute the coconut milk for cream.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Serves 6-8

1 butternut squash
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, diced
1 red onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
6 carrots, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 quart chicken or vegetable broth
13.5 oz. can coconut milk or light coconut milk
1 can Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (canned)
Sour cream or plain yogurt for topping

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the butternut squash or pumpkin in half lengthwise and remove the seeds. Place the halves face-up on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper. Bake the squash for 30-45 minutes, or until a fork easily goes through the flesh.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and allow to brown slightly. Add the onion and cook for 5-7 minutes or until tender. Add the celery, carrots, apple and raisins, stirring to coat. Cook for 10-12 minutes.
Add the chicken or vegetable broth and coconut milk. Open the can of chipotle peppers and add ONE OR TWO ONLY to the soup, depending on how hot you like it. Pour in some of the sauce, but remember it will get HOTTER that it is initially. Simmer the soup on medium-low heat until the squash is done.
When the squash is done, allow to cool enough to handle. Scoop out the flesh and add to the soup.
Pour batches of the soup into a blender or food processor to puree. Be careful – the soup will be HOT. When all the soup has been pureed, add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve in bowls with a dollop of sour cream or plain yogurt. If you like an even sweeter end result, mix honey into the sour cream or yogurt. Serve immediately or freeze to enjoy later.

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