It’s finally soup season! Well, I am sure for most of you it has been soup season for weeks, it is fall after all! But it is finally cold, almost too cold, like bitterly cold here in Texas (and everywhere else), and that calls for cozy fleece pajamas, snuggling on the couch, next to a cracklin’ fire, with a good book or watching a cheesy rom com, all while sipping ridiculous amounts of hot chocolate and inhaling as much stick-to-your-ribs comfort food, especially soups, stews, and chilis, as possible. (Holy run on sentence Batman!)
I love all comfort food, but big pots of soup, stew or chili, simmering all day, filling my house with tantalizing smells, well that’s what makes my heart go pitter patter and makes me long to live in a log cabin in the snowy mountains. Yet, in real life I would probably only last a week (for some reason scenes from The Shinning are totally intruding on my delightful, picture perfect Christmas card winter dream).
Since winter here in Texas is hit or miss (speaking of Christmas card photos, we had several growing up where we were cutting down our Christmas tree in shorts and tank tops… #ThatsTexasYall!), I feel like there just isn’t enough time to eat all the soup and chili recipes I stumble upon or dream up. I mean
we I could live off soup, stew or chili every day during this time or year since there are so many ways you can change it up, but this guy I know can only tolerate it like once MAYBE twice a week (if I do soup and a stew) before complaining he needs a “real” meal… like steak or something.
But as long as I can, I will be making as much soup as possible to get through winter (read: I have a number of soup/stew/chili recipes headed your way!!). First up this Winter Squash Soup with Gruyère Herb Croutons. This soup is delicious! It is 100% vegetarian and can easily be made vegan, with a few simple changes, if needed. I love that this soup is full of fresh, seasonal ingredients, is seasoned beautifully and has a lovely texture which is only complimented by crispy, cheesy homemade croutons.
Here’s to a not so long, but long enough for lots of comfort food, winter! 🙂
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Three Years Ago: Taming a Turkey: 5 Tips for Preparing a Thanksgiving Day Turkey
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Five Years Ago: Classic Chicken Parmesan
Winter Squash Soup with Gruyère Herb Croutons
Prep Time: 25-30 minutes Cook Time: 40-50 minutes Serves: 6-8
Winter Squash Soup:
3 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 cups peeled and diced acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
4 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 cups reduced sodium vegetable broth
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon each salt and black pepper
1/4 cup half and half or coconut milk (optional)
2 teaspoons sugar
Gruyère Herb Croutons:
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups baguette or French bread, cubed
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
1/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Stir in both butternut and acorn squash and saute for an additional 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Add broth, herbs and seasonings and bring to a boil. Boil for 3-5 minutes then reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 25-30 minutes.
Once squash is tender, remove from heat and cool slightly. Working in batches, carefully puree soup in a blender. Return soup to same pot and stir in cream and sugar. Bring soup to a simmer and season to taste with additional salt and black pepper, if needed.
To serve, ladle soup into bowls and top with prepared croutons.
Note: Soup can be made up to 1-2 days ahead of time. Cool completely and store in an air tight container in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, rewarm over medium heat.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
In a large bowl, toss bread cubes with melted butter, herbs, salt and black pepper. Place seasoned bread cubes on prepared baking sheet. Bake in 400 degree oven for 5-8 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with greeted cheese. Return croutons to oven and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes or until crispy.
Note: Croutons can be made 1-2 days ahead of time. Cool premade croutons completely and store at room temperature in a airtight container.
Note: For vegan, omit cheese from croutons or top with toasted squash seeds.