What’s Up, Butter… nut?

Main Dishes, Recipes, Side Dishes

What’s up, buttercups? Hope you had a happy 11-11-11 and made an epic wish at 11:11!

Thanks to dear friend (and very loyal NomNomCat reader!) Calvin, I’ve been spending much of my online time browsing Greatist, a health and fitness blog. My favorites are the recipes and the articles that feature news and facts about food and our relationship with food. They also have awesome infographics. I’m a sucker for pretty and informative infographics.

In the spirit of autumn, they recently posted a recipe for a roasted chicken and butternut squash soup that looked so good I just had to pick up a b-nut myself and whip some up. The recipe also gave me a reason to pick up some cumin and coriander to add to our growing spice rack!

We made a few small changes to the Greatist recipe. Here’s our variation!

LOVE the bright orange color of a peeled butternut squash!

First of all, this was my first experience hacking open one of these gourds so I turned to Google for advice. The folks at Cookthink have a helpful how-to with great step-by-step photos. What they don’t mention, however, is that b-nut sap can cause your skin to have this weird tight, plastic-like texture. My right hand (the one that held the knife) was no worse for the wear, but poor ol’ lefty looked unusually shiny and felt reminiscent of having a dried layer of Elmer’s glue on your skin. People seem to have their own theories for how to get rid of it, but what worked for me was scrubbing with hand soap and a pumice stone under warm running water. What would work even better is having the foresight to wear gloves the next time you cut open a b-nut. :)

Secondly, SAVE THE SEEDS. They are delicious and addictive when roasted. Recipe below the soup.

Ingredients:

(For 4-6 servings)

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks

2 14-oz cans of chicken broth

1 lb boneless chicken (we preferred thighs but breasts would work too), cut into 1-inch cubes

Salt & pepper, to taste

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

Dash of coriander

Dash of cumin

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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. After prepping the b-nut and chicken, add them to a baking dish (we used a 9 x 13 x 2 Pyrex dish). Drizzle with olive oil to coat and season with salt and pepper.

Looks good already!

Toss before placing the dish in the oven to roast the chicken until it’s no longer pink (but not more than that or it will get dry) and the squash is fork tender. It took us about 40 minutes. In a pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the chunks of b-nut and let cook for a few more minutes to soften. Then using a hand blender, puree until you get the desired consistency (pulverizing all of it will yield a thick and smooth soup, but we liked leaving a few chunks for texture).

Whirrrrrrrrrr!

Then add the roasted chicken pieces, coriander, and cumin. Let it simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes to allow the mashed squash to thicken the broth. Serve and enjoy!

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Did you keep the seeds? We were determined to use as much of the b-nut as we could, so we found this incredibly easy and very delicious recipe on AllRecipes for roasted winter squash seeds.

Roasty toasty seeds (fyi the red spots are from the Himalayan pink salt I used for seasoning)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Meanwhile, wash the seeds in cold water to remove the slimy sinewy squash innards. Pat them dry on paper towels. In a small bowl, toss them with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt for flavor. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet topped with parchment paper. (You could spread them on the baking sheet directly, but this way your pan doesn’t get greasy and it will be easy to shake them into your serving bowl later!) Stick them in the oven for about 15 minutes. After removing them from the oven, let them cool before shaking them into a bowl for serving or storage. They should keep in an airtight container for a week or so, but they make such a delicious and healthy snack that they didn’t last longer than a half hour in our house.

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This soup was perfect to warm us up with a hearty meal on a cold night. We were so eager to devour it that I forgot to take a picture of the final product. Sorry about that! We had the leftovers with some garlic naan I got from Trader Joes and it went phenomenally with the fragrant cumin. We liked it smooth, but next time we’ll have to try it chunky style a la Greatist. I imagine you could also make this vegetarian by omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. The spices really add a rich flavor to the soup and you wouldn’t even miss the meat! Try this recipe at home and let us know which rendition you prefer for b-nut soup. We’d love to hear from you!

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