I love Butternut squash! It is a sweet nutty squash that is very nutritious – full of vitamins A and C and fiber. Versatile in many types of dishes – soups, roasted, steamed, risotto, pies, pasta, gratins – the recipes are endless. And perfect for Thanksgiving!
Butternut squash soup is a favorite during cold months and once you cook up a batch, you can make several tasty meals from it. My absolute favorite soup cookbook, The New England Soup Factory Cookbook has the best squash soup that I have ever tasted, called Butternut Squash Soup with Calvados, Gorgonzola Cheese, and Prosciutto. I have adapted it somewhat, most notably, adding the sage leaves and using Feta cheese to the garnish. For my recent post of using Sage, an underused herb that is supposed to be “brain food”, go to Favorite Herb-Sage.
Butternut Squash Soup With Apples
A savory treasure of a healthy soup. The topping of prosciutto gives a nice salty contrast to the sweetness of the soup
- 1 T avocado oil or olive oil
- 6 slices proscuitto, cut into small chunks
- 1 apple, thinly sliced ( I used granny smith)
- handful fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 1/4 C crumbled feta cheese
- 4 T Butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 C diced onion, about 1 large
- 1/2 C celery, about 1 stalk
- 2 C diced carrots, about 3
- 1/2 C diced parsnips, about 1 medium
- 2 Large green apples , peeled and diced
- 2 Lbs butternut squash, peeled and diced, about 1 medium
- 8 C chicken stock
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 T Worcestershire sauce
- 2 T brown sugar
- 1 1/2 C light cream
- 2-3 T Calvados, an apple brandy, optional
In a saute pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add prosciutto and pan fry until crispy. Remove from pan and set aside.
Add sliced apples and sage leaves and saute lightly until the apples are crisp tender. Set aside for use later
In a stockpot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, apples, carrot celery, parsnips, and butternut squash. Saute for 10 minutes
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about an hour. Turn off heat
Puree the soup in the pot using a hand blender or working in batches, with a blender until smooth. Return the soup to the pot if using a blender and season to taste with salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar. Stir in cream
Return to heat and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Stir in Cavados right before serving
Top each serving with a sprinkling of Feta and garnish with slices of sauteed apple, the prosciutto and sage leaves on top. Enjoy!!!
Overflowing my pantry, my winter squash harvest is a treasure that I use when I get the urge to cook something savory and good for you. I have new squash favorites like Kaboucha and Delicata, but I always revert back to Butternut as my go-to winter squash for soups or creamy pasta recipes.
Kaboucha, which is a Japanese pumpkin, has a fluffy, chestnut texture widely used in Asia. I would compare it to a cross between a sweet potato and pumpkin. All winter squashes are full of beta carotene, iron, vitamins, and other good stuff.
So many delicious fall recipes lend itself to these versatile tasty squashes, that I have increased the space devoted to growing them in my veggie garden. And yes, it does take some serious space! A sprawling vine, it can spread up to 10 feet horizontally or vertically, but I consider this a well-earned space in my garden as winter squashes are quite prolific and easy to grow.
Harvesting and Preparing
When the rinds of winter squash are tough enough to resist being punctured with a fingernail, cut them with a short stub of vine attached, like their cousins, pumpkins. Be sure to wait until they are fully ripened and sit the squash out in the sun for at least a week to fully cure before storing in a cool place indoors. Keeping for months, squash are handy to pull out from storage when you need something for dinner as a main or side. The only downside to winter squash is preparing them. They are very tough to chop and I once cut the tip of my finger off when chopping one up! To avoid this, you can buy the pre-cut pieces at the supermarket, or use them with the skin on.
Another winter squash that you might like to try is the Boston Marrow. Hard to find, except at farmer’s markets, I was delighted to find this heirloom squash at a local farmstand/orchard and was able to savor it for the first time.
According to Burpee who is now carrying this hard to find squash, they describe it as; “Once you taste the melt-in-your-mouth “pumpkin” pie that this squash yields, you’ll be making it as often as possible. Sweet, carrot-orange flesh, cooks to a creamy, custardy texture for perfect pies, puddings and breads. Delicious alone. A fine choice for areas with a short growing season”.
Boston Marrow History
An heirloom squash with more than 200 years of documented history, and even thought to be much older- like ancient, Boston Marrow originated in the upstate New York area. Legend has it that Native Americans gifted this squash to colonists and seeds were later passed on to Salem, Massachusetts in 1831. Marrow soon became one of the most important commercial squashes for over 150 years. But in modern times, nearly every seed company had dropped this unique treasure. In recent years, with the interest in heirloom veggies increasing, it is being picked up again by seed companies.
Used primarily as a pie squash, its skin is also thin and easy to peel. Due to its success in cooler conditions with a shorter growing season, the squash has spread throughout the US. If kept in a cool dry place, the squash can last to the following spring, another trait prized by early growers.
Growing between 5 to 52 pounds each, these squash can be made into quite a few pies. And what a fabulous pie! Flesh of the Boston Marrow squash is less sweet and dense than that of Butternut squash, which gives it a wonderful custardy flavor.
Resulting in a much better tasting pumpkin pie, it is lighter in texture and flavor. Starting with a basic recipe from AllRecipes for a butternut squash pie, I have revised the spices to my liking and substituted Boston Marrow. The resulting pie was a big hit with my family for its creaminess and wonderful flavor. Everyone was coming back for one more piece, until it was gone.
From a 6.5 pound squash, I was able to make 3 pies!
Boston Marrow Squash Pie
A wonderful fall pie recipe; if you can't find Boston Marrow, substitute Butternut Squash
- 3 C Chunks of winter squash, peeled
- 1 C Brown sugar, packed
- 1 T Cornstarch
- 1 Egg
- 1 12 oz can Evaporated milk
- 1 1/2 t Cinnamon
- 1/4 t Freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 t Ground cloves
- 1/4 t Ground allspice
- 1/2 t Ground ginger
- 1 Unbaked pie shell
Steam the squash chunks in a saucepan for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Pour into pie shell and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Place in preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes, until the center is set.
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.