Lisa Erickson mug

Fall is a favorite time year for many people. The air smells of leaves and campfires. The color of the leaves on the trees is spectacular—my favorite is bright yellow. Walking through the forest on a cool afternoon can make anyone feel happy. 

When the cold weather sets in I crave is soup. I want something that warms me for the inside out. Thick and creamy soups do the trick.

This year, I have an abundance of butternut squash. For whatever reason, it was almost as prolific as our zucchini. Butternut squash works well as soup. Some other squashes are a bit drier and don’t work as well, but use whatever winter squash you have available. I’ve even used pumpkin. 

I like to bake my squash first. It brings out the flavor of the squash. Sometimes, I roast the squash a day or two ahead and pull it out of the fridge when I need it. That way I can make this soup in a flash on a weeknight when I’m short on time. 

The addition of the saffron makes this soup shine. The color is as bright and cheery as fall leaves. I only add a dash because saffron is expensive. Feel free to omit it if you don’t have it. 

Butternut Squash Soup

1 1/2 lbs. butternut squash, roasted**

3-4 Tbsp. butter

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 carrots, chopped

2 1/2 cups water

2 1/2 tsp. chicken bullion 

Dash of powdered ginger

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup whipping cream, plus more for serving

Saffron, optional

In a Dutch oven over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and the carrot; cook for 5 minutes until slightly tender. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. 

Add water and bullion. Bring soup to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Add the butternut squash, ginger, and lemon juice and simmer for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat & add the whipping cream.

Transfer soup to a blender or use an immersion blender; blend until smooth. Return to cooking pot and reheat. Serve with a small swirl of whipping cream and sprinkle a few threads of saffron on top. 

**To roast butternut squash, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash half and remove seeds. Cover a baking sheet with foil. Place squash cut side down. Bake for 1-1 1/2 hours until squash is tender. Cool and scrape the flesh from the skin. Discard skin. Use immediately or refrigerate.

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes at www.wild-chow.com or email her at wildchowrecipes@gmail.com.

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