Friday, November 7, 2014

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Soup


Well, it has been two whole years since starting my blog, and although there hasn't been much blogging lately, I knew I had to take some time to write about today for several reasons.

First of all, there is the reason already mentioned: Primal Pickings is two today!  It hardly seems possible that it has already been two whole years since I finally convinced myself to start this blog.  I remember reading advice on how to get started as a blogger, and the number one tip I came across was, "Just do it!" ...Because if you wait for the perfect time, you may never try in the first place, (which is a philosophical idea that is applicable to life in itself).  All the praise and support received about my blogging and my writing "voice" has shown me that the majority of people are very accepting and welcoming, and as a result I have learned to embrace my quirkiness to the fullest!

More importantly than my blog-iversary, my friend Kellie is getting married today!  Kellie was my roommate in college before she met Derek, and when they got engaged, she asked me to be in her wedding party.  Now, as I write this, I am getting all dolled up to celebrate her special day, and I am so honored that she has asked me to be a part of it.

On that note, here is a recipe for an elegant, fall wedding-inspired soup. Of course, the level of elegance is determined by the amount of bacon added, so sprinkle generously ;)

Roasted Butternut Squash and Leek Soup

Ingredients:
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 Tablespoon olive or coconut oil (for the squash)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons bacon fat (for sautéing)
  • 1 large leek, chopped and washed throughly (use only the white and light green part)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
  • a pinch of nutmeg (Sounds weird, but I promise this is the ingredient that transforms the dish!)
  • 1 -2 cups chicken broth (depending on the consistency you want)
  • the juice and zest of ½ a lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.  To roast the butternut squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the pulp and seeds (but save the seeds for roasting!), coat the cut sides of the squash with the olive oil or coconut oil and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for about 1 hour, then let cool.
  2. While the squash cooks, heat the bacon fat in a medium stock or soup pot.  Add the leeks, minced garlic, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, rosemary, and nutmeg.  Sautée until the leeks are soft and translucent.
  3. When the squash has cooled, scoop out the flesh and add it to the leek mixture in the pot.  Then, add 1 cup of the chicken broth.  Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Using a blender or food processor, carefully blend the squash and leek mixture into a purée, and return to the pot.  Add more chicken broth if desired to reach the correct consistency.
  5. Serve in individual bowls, and add desired toppings.  I used roasted squash seeds (directions below), green onions, and bacon!

Roasted squash seeds: Separate seeds from pulp, place them on a small baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper, and toss them with a pinch of salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Roast at 350ºF for 15-20 minutes stirring halfway in between.