Monday, September 27, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup & South Africa

Butternut Squash soup will forever remind me of my time in South Africa.  It is a popular national dish that we consumed just about every other day.  What better way to pay tribute to this wonderful country than through Meatless Monday

The soup was prepared with generous amounts of butter which I would not eat today but thoroughly enjoyed as a vegetarian during my stay.  The aroma of the soup takes me back to the large table we sat around each day discussing the day's trials and triumphs as volunteers in an unfamiliar land.  We practiced our Zulu as we slurped down the orange goodness and made plans for the following day.

Butternut squash is available year round but peak season is summer through early fall.  I am sharing with you a vegan variation of this South African favorite.   Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Soup
Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup diced carrot (about 1 (8-inch) large carrot)
1/2 cup diced celery (about 1 (11-inch) large stalk)
2/3 cup diced onion (about 1 medium onion)
4 cups cubed butternut squash (about 1 medium squash)
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
4 to 6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add carrot, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables have begun to soften and onion turns translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add butternut squash and thyme. Stir to combine with vegetables. Stir in vegetable broth and season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until squash is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree soup. Alternatively, let the soup cool slightly and carefully puree in batches in a traditional blender.

The most motherly child I have ever met
Nap Time
Lesson Time - Look at those beautiful faces
Beautiful home built by volunteers

Recipe adapted from Whole Foods Market