Thursday, January 3, 2013

Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Soup


Happy New Year!!  Did you make a resolution?  My resolution for this year is to live more in the moment; to relax and try to be less of a planner.  Well, not so much less of a planner, but to gain the patience to be okay when my plans don't work out, not to stress...I'm a bit of a freak about that...shhhh, don't tell ;)  Whether or not you have a resolution, I hope you get to make 2013 everything you want it to be! 

Now, let's get cooking!
I have probably almost every kitchen appliance and/or tool you can think of, including 3 different kinds of coffee makers.  Oh, come on...doesn’t everyone have at least 3??  I mean, there’s the regular brewer, a one-cup maker and then my beloved French Press!  Am I missing anything??  Anywho, my father-in-law has teased me that there isn’t anything kitchen-y that I don’t have.  But he was wrong…I didn’t have EVERYthing…I didn’t have an immersion blender!  Until now…Santa Hubby brought me one for Christmas and I know this is completely lame, but I cannot fully express my sheer joy about it!

So the first thing I had to do was find a use for it.  I searched the Internet for a recipe that called for me to blend a bunch of stuff together…I'm not even sure that WHAT I was making was of that much importance, I just knew that I had to use it! 
Well, lucky for me – and now you! – I found this great soup recipe from Epicurious that looked not only blend-able (yesssss), but yummy, and healthy.  I changed it up a bit to suit our taste and I also added chicken to make it more of a meal. 
The result was hearty and delicious!  Perfect for a snow day and movies which is exactly what we had.
Please note:  You can of course, make this soup without an immersion blender, or even a food processor; you’ll just need to get mashing at the end and it’ll be a little chunkier, but who cares?!  The tastes are definitely the same.  Also, please excuse all of the different lighting in the pics, we had snow, a lot of cloudiness, and then darkness before the soup was done so I had to make due with the lighting I had!
Ingredients:
Roasted Red Pepper Puree
In a small food processor, add the following ingredients and puree together, then set aside (You will be mixing the puree in at the end):

1 cup drained roasted red peppers from jar (I used the kind from Mezzetta)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper


Soup base:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 package boneless skinless chicken tenders, about 1lb
5 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, divided
2 ½ to 3lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into chunks
Season salt
Garlic seasoning (or garlic salt)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 tsp dried thyme
Bacon bits and/or light sour cream, to taste, for topping

Preparation:In a stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sauté onions and celery in olive oil until softened, about 10 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for about 1 minute more.

Remove mixture to a bowl and set aside.

Using the same pot, add 1 ½ cups of chicken broth and the chicken tenders, seasoning with salt, pepper and garlic seasoning.  Boil the chicken in the broth for about 15 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from heat and cool for a bit.  Shred the chicken, remove from broth and set aside.


To the same pot, add the squash, onion/celery mix, and the rest of the broth and boil the mixture for about 40 minutes or until a fork easily slides through the squash.



After 40 minutes:

Remove
the squash from heat and cool for a bit; about 10 minutes.

Now, it’s magic time!  Using your immersion blender, blend the mix together.  Look at how pretty it is!  (You can also use your food processor; you’ll just have to work in batches unless you have a huge one.  Or, you can also use your favorite masher.)


Once all of the squash is pureed, add the thyme and chicken and stir.


I tasted it at this point, and for us, it needed a little more salt, so I added Lawry's Seasoned Salt

Return to simmer to heat through.  (I actually simmered it for about 30 minutes longer; just because we weren’t ready to eat and we were out shoveling snow.)  Consume when you’re ready!

Cooking note about the red pepper puree:  When the soup base was done, I tried the recipe as Epicurious called for it:  swirling the red pepper puree on top of each bowl.  But afterwards, I thought, “Well, yah, that makes for a pretty presentation, but why not just mix all of the puree into the whole pot??” and that’s when I really enjoyed it; the flavors all came together beautifully!  I did this after adding the chicken. 

Finally,
I topped it with bacon bits and a little bit of sour cream.


Simply scrumptious!  And perfect for a cold day!  This made a pot for about 7 people so I froze the rest for upcoming lunches.

Nutrition:
Serves approximately 7 – (1 cup each serving)
Calories 236 / Carbs 27g / Fat 4g / Protein 22g / Fiber 5g / Sodium 1034mg

2 comments:

  1. This sounds so good! I got an immersion blender for Christmas as well and I'm SO excited! When I make soup that needed to be blended I would have to pour it into my blender then back into the pot... messy and not easy! I might have to make this this weekend :)

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  2. That's funny, Bailey! It's definitely fast: the veggies were all blended within 30 seconds, it was awesome! Good luck on the recipe and we'll have to share other recipes we use it for! ;)

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