Butternut squash and pumpkin are the two produce staples that make transitioning into cold weather so much easier. Butternut squash soup is one of my favorite go-to’s on a cold day. I personally am not a fan of the cream-based version, as it feels like I’m eating ice cream without the satisfaction of…eating ice cream. The butternut squash soup at Fresh Corn Grill in West LA is hands down my favorite butternut squash soup – dairy-free, not too sweet, not too salty – perfect every time. I wanted to try and recreate it as one of the courses for the Christmas dinner I made for my dad and I last year (yes, this post is VERY late). The ingredients in a recipe I found on Simply Recipes seemed like it would taste pretty similar to FCG’s.
Let me just start by saying – ANYONE can make butternut squash soup. You basically just chop up a bunch of veggies, cook it in broth, and then blend it all together. If you overcook it, it doesn’t matter! I broke out the blender I had been neglecting since I bought it on black Friday a couple years ago.
Here’s the recipe!
Note that the smaller you chop your vegetables, the faster they will cook. 1/2-inch chunks work just fine for the apple and butternut squash, but I would recommend finely dicing the onion, celery, and carrot.
1 tart green apple, peeled, cored, chopped (squash and apple should be at a 3 to 1 ratio)
3 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 cup water
Pinches of nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, salt and pepper
Set a large saucepan over medium-high heat and heat the butter for 1-2 minutes. Do not let it turn brown. Add the onion, celery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, taking care to turn the heat down if the vegetables begin to brown.
Add squash, apple, broth and water. Bring to boil. Cover, turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes or until squash and carrots soften. Puree, and return to a clean pot.
Add salt and spices to taste, and garnish with chives or parsley.
I paired this as an opener to the Filet Mignon with Balsamic Pan Sauce and Truffle Oil that we had at Christmas dinner. It was definitely sweeter than Fresh Corn Grill’s – probably because of the apple. I think if I were to make this again in an effort to mimic FCG’s, I would nix the apple and triple the amount of celery and carrot and lessen the amount of spice. I was definitely heavy-handed with the latter. I still couldn’t get enough of this recipe though – I’ve made it two more times since.
The fall brings a bounty of wonderful things every year – crisp air, Halloween, awesome seasonal produce, and an extra hour of sleep à la daylight savings. Aside from butternut squash, pumpkin is another one of those pleasures the fall season presents. [Disclaimer: a slew of treats highlighting delicious pumpkin is looming, so stay tuned for updates!] First and foremost, I thought I’d throw in something I made featuring pumpkin that isn’t a dessert!
I found this great recipe for Turkey and Pumpkin Chili on the Whole Foods recipe website a couple of years ago. Any excuse to sneak healthy and delicious things (i.e., quinoa, veggies, pumpkin, etc.) into my food is always welcome, but I was really impressed with the nuttiness that the pumpkin adds to an otherwise pretty standard chili.
Side story – I diced a jalapeño to throw in some guacamole over the summer. I’m not sure what kind of radioactive jalapeño I brought home from the market that day, but that little green pepper set my skin ablaze. The burning sensation started in my fingertips, spread into my cuticles, up my fingers, and all over my hands. Any part of me that I touched felt like it caught fire. I washed my hands a dozen times and even took a shower to try to make it stop. It even spread into my nostrils and eyes after I washed my face, and stayed there. My boyfriend at the time did a quick Google search for “jalapeño hands” and found out my dilemma wasn’t as uncommon as we had thought. The intense burning lasted about 4-5 hours (all from just one jalapeño) til it finally subsided on its own, but it was unbelievably uncomfortable.
Anyway, the point of that little digression is that when I cut up the jalapeño for this chili, you can be damned sure I wore gloves. I recommend wearing gloves to anyone who might make this yummy chili too!
Here is the recipe:
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound ground white or dark meat turkey
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add turkey and cook until browned.
Add tomatoes, pumpkin, 1 cup water, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium low and add beans. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes more.