“I don’t drink much whiskey, but I love to cook with it,” writes Ted Allen in the introduction to this bourbon squash soup recipe. My thoughts exactly. I am not a great drinker of bourbon, but I certainly do like to cook and bake with it. Perhaps in 2015, I will work on mixing up a few whiskey cocktails. For today, I will stick to soup.
My resolutions – when I make them – have ranged from asinine (untying my shoes before taking them off) to noble (being more patient in traffic, which came with the added bonus of swearing less). Three days out from Christmas, it may seem silly to look ahead to New Year’s Resolutions today, but in just two weeks we will find ourselves five days in. So this year, I am preparing in advance.
Since I cook a lot from books, one goal I have for the new year is to start thinking up more recipes on my own. While writing and photography have their tedious moments, figuring out what to do with food has not yet become a chore. I can apply some creative energy there, but to do so, I knew I had to get organized first.
Last week, I organized my recipes for the year. In this endeavor (and trust me, it was an endeavor – does anyone else have the maddening experience of setting out to organize only to find yourself in the midst of an even bigger disorganized mess?), I found no less than five butternut squash soup recipes.
No one needs five recipes for butternut squash soup. Five recipes for chocolate chip cookies? Yes, please. Five recipes for squash soup? Um, no, probably not. So I kept one, and I chose it for the bourbon, because seven weeks into 12 Weeks of Winter Squash calls for bourbon.
And here we are with a recipe for a bourbon squash soup. Like most other squash soup recipes, it calls for a base of onion, celery, and carrot. Then it adds some depth with bourbon, a chipotle en adobo, and thyme. It’s flavorful and hearty and delicious. Enjoy!
- For the Squash
- 1 large butternut squash
- olive oil
- For the Soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 chipotle in adobo
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 2 teaspoons fresh)
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- optional garnish: baguette slices, goat cheese, thyme
- Halve the squash lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds.
- Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet, cover with foil, and roast at 375 degrees F for one hour or until tender.
- Remove the squash from the oven and allow it to cool, then scoop out the flesh and set aside.
- Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onion, celery, and carrots.
- Cook until soft, about eight minutes, then add the garlic, chipotle in adobo, and thyme.
- Next stir in the baked squash, vegetable stock, bourbon, salt, and pepper.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened slightly, about 20 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and either immediately puree with an immersion blender or allow to cool and puree with a food processor or blender.
I used an entire chipotle en adobo - seeds and all - which meant I got a decent amount of heat in this soup. If you like the smokiness of a chipotle en adobo but are not a fan of the heat, slice it open and remove the seeds before adding it to the soup. If you are a fan of neither the smoke or the heat, omit the chipotle entirely.
When it comes to cooking, I have a knack for ignoring basic laws of science and then wondering why the dish I was working on did not work out. For this soup, do not ignore the ways of the world that make hot liquids sealed into blenders or food processors explode out of them. Give the soup time to cool to room temperature before pureeing it in one of these kitchen tools.
Lastly, this soup is fairly thick, so you may want to keep some extra stock on hand to thin it if desired.