Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

The weather here in Texas is FINALLY cooling off and all I want is hot soup in a nice warm mug that I can wrap my fingers around. Something comforting, but not heavy. (Because let’s face it,  cooling temps here means it’s 70 degrees outside.)

Something easy to make, because I’m still playing catch-up from the weekend. Since I have a big ole butternut squash that I need to do something with, soon…

YES!

Butternut Squash and Red Pepper soup

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
    OR (approximately 4 cups, or 15 oz of grocery store cubed fresh squash)
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-1/2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I use 1/3 Reduced Fat)
  • 1/4 pint milk, skim or 2%  (optional, as needed)
  • 1 TBSP fresh Chives, plus extra to garnish
  • 4 TBSP fat-free plain Greek yogurt (optional, for garnish)

The most intimidating (or time-consuming) part of cooking butternut squash is peeling it – it’s a hard squash.  I have a cheat: poke holes in it with a fork, pop it in the microwave for about 3 minutes, and let it cool enough to handle. You’ll find it is softened enough to peel it with a vegetable peeler!  Cut off the top and bottom, slice in half, scoop out the seeds and cut into a dice.

(You can use store-bought squash in a pinch, but I think freshly cut has more flavor.)

Spray a heavy pan with non-stick spray. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-1/2 minutes.

Add the butternut squash, red pepper, and vegetable stock. (I use an organic stock that contains mushrooms, so it is a deeper color than other veggie stocks, but it is yummy.)

Bring to a simmer, partly cover, and cook until vegetables are softened  – about 25 minutes.

butternut squash

Oooh, it smells SO good!

The next step is to puree the soup ingredients. You can transfer it to a blender, but I’m a lazy cook who LOVES her immersion blender,  so I prefer to let it cool slightly and the blend right in the pot. Whichever method you choose, puree the ingredients, then add the cream cheese and blend until smooth.

If you used a blender, return it to the pan.

Now, for the milk – this is a purely optional thing, as some batches need thinning, and I suppose it comes down to what you consider a “large” butternut squash. If the consistency is too thick, add milk (or cream) until you reach the desired consistency. The consistency was perfect with this batch so I left it alone!

Chop up some chives. They brighten up the mild flavors of this soup and they are pretty.

Stir in the chives (I’m so bossy) and season to taste.

Your soup will have cooled some, what with the blending and such, so kick that burner back on and simmer to reheat and it’s ready to eat!

Ladle it up, and if you want to get all fancy pants, add a dollop of that plain yogurt and sprinkle on some fresh chives.

Isn’t that pretty?

Butternut squash

 

This is my favorite winter soup because it is lovely to sip from a mug on its own, and it pairs wonderfully with toasted sandwiches or  crispy, cheesy quesadillas. It’s quick and easy – and I’d love to know what you think of it!!!

Scroll down for a printable version of the recipe!!

Butternut squash

 

 

Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Soup

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 large Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds removed, and cubed (approximately 4 cups, or 15 oz of grocery store cubed fresh squash)
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 3-1/2 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 1/4 pint milk, skim or 2%  (optional, as needed)
  • 1 TBSP fresh Chives, plus extra to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 TBSP fat-free plain yogurt (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

  1. Spray a heavy pan with non-stick spray. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-1/2 minutes. 
  2. Add the butternut squash, red pepper, and stock. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer, partly cover, and cook until vegetables are softened  - about 25 minutes
  3. Let cool slightly.
  4. Transfer soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender in your cooking pot). Whichever method you choose, add the cream cheese and blend until smooth.
  5. If you used a blender, return it to the pan. Stir in the chives.
  6. Depending on the actual quantity obtained from your "large squash", the consistency of the soup can vary. If your soup is too thick, add milk until your preferred consistency is reached.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Place the soup back on the burner and reheat, as it has cooled slightly from blending.
  9. Ladle soup into bowls, add a dollop of plain yogurt and garnish with fresh chives. 
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