Julie's Butternut Squash Soup

This recipe came from my lovely friend, Julie.  We first met in the fall, when our little girls were babies, and we spent their first Halloween together.  It was raw and wet outside, and I was a sleep-deprived, sore-boobed, somewhat lonely new mama, but in her living room she had a fireplace going, a pumpkin candle lit, coffee brewing, and a bag of goodies ready for the girls.  I left feeling warm through and through.  I discovered that day that she is one of those truly hospitable people who puts you at ease and creates a welcoming home where you want to linger.  I feel this way every time I walk into her house. And yet, she is one of the busiest mamas I know, juggling a career, three kids, sports, family commitments, etc.  She somehow makes it all happen and then some.  This soup is part of the magic she works: it is easy, healthy, comforting, and beautiful.

She and her family moved to New England a few years back, and my daughter and I have taken a girls’ road trip to visit them the past two Septembers.  I love the history of early America, the bonding time with my oldest, the reminiscent chats, and the new adventures we all have together. The combination of friends, foliage, and food on these trips (hello, lobster rolls!) leaves me full, body and soul.  Catching up with her over steamy mugs while the girls giggle and play in the background relaxes and recharges me (as do the hotel pillows and absence of housework), and I think a slightly improved version of me comes home to my boys.  

The pandemic has stolen our visit this year, so on this cold, rainy day I am stirring up a pot of her soup and feeling grateful for the food and relationships that nourish us.  I have changed her recipe only a little to reflect my tastes, as there is not much room to improve upon it.  Whip some up when those leaves start to crunch.  Then share it with a friend.  

Julie's Butternut Squash Soup

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chunked

1 large butternut squash, peeled and chunked

3 carrots, peeled and chunked

3 stalks celery, with leafy tops, roughly chopped

1 tbsp dried sage

1 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

2 cartons (32oz) chicken stock

2 tbsp cream cheese (optional)

Heat butter and oil in a large stockpot.  Add the onion, sweet potato, squash, carrots, and celery. Sweat the vegetables for 5-10 minutes (just chop and drop as you go).  Sprinkle in the seasonings (I would add just a little salt and pepper at this point and adjust later) and pour in the stock.  The liquid should just cover the veggies, so add more or less depending on what you have in the pot.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Turn off heat, add the cream cheese if using and hit it with an immersion blender.  If you don’t have one, you can transfer in batches to a regular blender, just be careful to only fill it up halfway.  Add more salt and pepper or thin with more stock if needed. Serves 6.


A Momma's Pen writes:
Oct 13, 2020 3:28pm
Mmmmm, I love love love butternut squash soup, and this one sounds similar to one of my go-to recipes. I will have to try yours and compare. This is a sweet post ... there's just nothing better than sharing delicious food (especially soup in the fall!) and good conversation with a close friend. And it's even more important to cherish them during sad times such as these. Hold on to them for as long as you can!
Heather Walsh writes:
Oct 13, 2020 6:27pm
Thanks so much. I really do think that the strength of our relationships is a huge factor in determining our overall happiness, now more than ever. Hugs!
Ariane writes:
Oct 12, 2020 9:12pm
Thanks for the recipe!
Heather Walsh writes:
Oct 13, 2020 6:25pm
Ariane, let me know if you make it! It would go well with some sourdough :)
Sandy writes:
Oct 12, 2020 7:37pm
What a sweet tribute to your friend!
Heather Walsh writes:
Oct 13, 2020 6:24pm
Thanks, Sandy. I didn't do her justice here. She is a force of good, for sure.

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