Cream-free Creamy Squash Soup

I was faced with three large crookneck squashes (see what they looked like in my post for Zucchini soup). My creamy butternut squash soup recipe beckoned.

But wait: these were not butternut squash. Would crookneck squash give me that sweet, substantial, creamy smooth tongue-sensation that a butternut never fails to deliver? Would the soup be too watery to be filling and satisfying? I had to know.

simmering squash cubesFirst, I weilded my vegetable peeler and gave the bumpy, rough yellow rind the thinnest of peels. Ideally, I prefer to eat the skin and all of summer squash since once you peel something it no longer is a “whole food” containing everything needed for complete and efficient digestion, but these had been sitting around a few days and the rind looked pretty tough. My kids aren’t big fans of skins, either, and I wanted them to eat this, too. So I compromised with a super thin peel that removed the outer layer of skin but left the darker layer containing most of the nutrition.

After scooping out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon (try it: it works really well), I cut them into chunks and covered them with about 2 cups of purified water in a saucepan. I brought the water up to a boil, then simmered until the squash was fork-tender but not mushy.

By setting a colander into a soup pot in my sink, I saved the cooking water and any vitamins that had leached into it. Leaving the water for a moment, I dumped the squash back into the saucepan and used my handblender to puree. Handblenders are one of my favorite kitchen appliances because you can do your blending right in the same pot, without adding a blender to your dishes chore. This is the handblender I have. Braun MR430HC Multiquick Deluxe Handblender & Chopper

Now, to melt 3 Tbsp. butter or trans-fat-free margarine or just heat olive oil, and saute the squash for 3-5 minutes. This soup could be completely dairy-free (yes, a dairy-free creamy soup — how can that be? stay tuned as the secret ingredient is coming…), but I really like the savory flavor real, organic butter gives the squash. I keep sticks of butter in the freezer just for times like these.

squash soupBreak out the whisk and whisk in 1 beaten egg and 3 Tbsp. semolina flour until the mixture attains a pastelike consistency. Semolina is the super finely ground duram wheat flour used to make pasta. In this recipe, it gives the soup body and heft. Mmmmm….

Heat for a few more minutes until heated through, season lightly with sea salt (remember that the butter will give it a salty taste, too) then transfer into the soup pot (pour the squash water into another container first). Over low heat, whisk in the reserved water from boiling the squash along with 2 cups of broth. I love the little 1-cup, single-serving broth-in-a-box options from companies like Imagine. Look for them in the soup sections of regular and health food grocery stores. Simmer for about 30 minutes, whisking often, particularly during the first 10 minutes. If still too chunky, use handblender to puree again.

Taste and add sea salt just until the flavor pops. Top with freshly chopped parsley. Serve with toasted whole grain bread, which is what I would have done, had we had any bread in the house when I made this!

The verdict: it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of squash you use in this soup. The butter saute step imparts a tongue-smacking buttery sensation that perfectly compliments the thick, almost applesaucy texture that gives the mouth something to work on and makes it more satisfying than a brothy soup.

This soup freezes well and makes a hearty treat on a winter night.

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