Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup

Before I attend to the main crux of this post, I first want to thank you all for your well wishes about my big culinary school reveal!  I’ve been holding the news in for about two months from when I first applied and a month ago, when I officially got accepted.  It feels great to finally get it out there and it makes it that much more exciting.

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But before I officially don my chef’s whites and clog shoes, I have another breaking development to share with everyone.  I’m moving…over Christmas…voluntarily.  Connor and I have decided to save a bit of money and downsize.  Our new building also has a lot of great perks, which I am looking forward to, including an on-site gym (this will be extremely handy with school coming up), a much bigger kitchen to practice all my new skills, and a great view as an added bonus.

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Since the next ten days will be filled with moving, cleaning, and more dreaded moving, I’m more and more inclined to make easy dinners.  Heck, I think I’m always inclined towards those types of meals, but having little time to spare makes them that much more appealing.

Soup can be time-consuming, but it doesn’t always have to be.  Especially when you pick ones that involve few, but flavor packed, ingredients and that require short prep and cooking times.  This latest creation was adapted from one of my new favorite cookbook addition, The Whole Foods Market CookbookIt is filled with fresh, healthy, but delicious recipes that can be made any night of the week.

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Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup

Yield: 4-5 Servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

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Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1.5 quarts chicken broth (roughly 6 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • fried sage leaves (garnish)

Directions:

  1. Preheat olive oil in large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly translucent, stirring consistently.
  2. Add butternut squash and carrot to soup pot and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Pour in chicken broth and bring to boil. Turn down heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes with lid on.
  4. Using immersion blender, puree soup until it smooth and all lumps are gone. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  5. Before serving, stir in heavy whipping cream.
  6. To prepare garnish, wash and dry several whole sage leaves. Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in skillet over medium high heat until hot. Carefully add sage leaves and pan fry for several seconds. Transfer to paper-lined plate and serve on top of the soup.

Slightly adapted from Whole Foods Market Cookbook.

I chose to skip a few ingredients from the original recipe, parsley and orange peel, and instead added a few of my own additions to take it over the top.  The small addition of heavy cream gave it a hint of richness to make it more filling and hearty (but without being too noticeable) and…well…the sage leaves just taste good. 

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But really, this soup could easily be adapted depending on what you have on hand.  For example: substituting other winter squash, giving it some heat with curry powder or cumin, or adding additional vegetables.  I served this soup hot for dinner, but it would also taste great served cold as a first course.

Perhaps on Christmas Day?  Enjoy!

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4 Responses to “Butternut Squash & Carrot Soup”

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    Meredith — December 12, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

    I love your photography! How do you make your pictures so sharp? Any advice on lighting, lenses, or composition? Thanks!

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    Laura — December 13, 2011 @ 4:36 am

    Hi Meredith! That’s so nice of you. I have a couple tricks that I use to help make my pictures sharp–I love a tripod (this is the most helpful, because you can lower the shutter speed without worrying about camera shake), only use natural light, and have been shooting in RAW lately. I’m still working on my composition/styling, which I think is the trickiest thing to learn, in my opinion. I try to shoot in morning/afternoon light, because its softer and use foam boards to bounce light (and decrease shadows). I also suggest getting the book “Plate to Pixel”–by Helene Dujardin, it’s great and has lots of tips and advice for improving food photography.

    Also–patience! Which is sometimes hard, but it helps to set aside time to take a bunch of shots and see what’s working best :)

    Hope this helps!

    Laura

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    Vanessa — December 13, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    Ahh LOVE that last picture Laura! I’m jealous of your natural light! I’m always working during the day time so my pictures turn out looking bad at night :-(

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    Laura — December 14, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

    Thanks so much! I took this on a Sunday, after I made it Saturday night. Another reason why I love soups, because they are easier to photograph later when the light is right. Sometimes I can’t do anything about it though! Your photos have been great!

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