Winter squash makes a fantastic soup – feel free to swap acorn, Hubbard, or even pumpkin for the butternut; maple syrup and apple bring out its sweetness, and using curry powder or sage will change its flavour profile depending on your mood.
1 medium butternut squash
canola or olive oil, for cooking
1/4 cup (60 ml) pure maple syrup, divided
2 tbsp (30 ml) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tart apple or ripe pear, chopped
1/2 tsp (2 ml) sage or curry powder
4 cups (1 L) chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
1/2–1 cup (125-250 ml) half & half, 18% coffee cream or heavy (whipping) cream
salt and pepper, to taste
pumpkin seeds, for serving (optional)
plain yogurt, for serving (optional)
Peel the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into chunks. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with oil and half the maple syrup; roast at 425°F for 20–30 minutes, or until golden. (Don’t worry if they aren’t cooked through yet.)
In a small pot, heat another drizzle of oil and the butter over medium-high heat. When the foam subsides, add the onion and saute for 3–4 minutes, until soft. Add the apple or pear, along with the sage or curry powder, and cook for another minute. Add the roasted squash, chicken stock and cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer; cook for 20–30 minutes, until the squash is very soft.
Remove the cinnamon stick, add the cream and remaining maple syrup and season with salt and pepper. Purée in batches in a blender or with a hand-held immersion blender right in the pot, until smooth. Adjust seasoning and serve hot, topped with a dollop of yogurt and a few pumpkin seeds, if you like.
221 calories, 9.8 g fat (4.7 g saturated fat, 4.3 g monounsaturated fat, 0.8 g polyunsaturated fat), 22 mg cholesterol, 28.4 g carbohydrate, 5.6 g protein, 2.4 g fibre.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, February 2014.