Ginger Butternut Squash Soup

Soup... If there is one other thing that I might do for a living, it is to be a master soup chef.  Stock made from left over chicken, added onions, carrots, garlic and celery... Prepping for the real thing, dicing the ingredients, in the stock and cooking away on the stove... The final presentation, with maybe some crème fraiche, croutons and parsley, a piece of bread, a glass of wine, maybe a second helping... I could be a Soup Nazi: "No soup for you today!!!" if only I wasn't so anxious to share my soup with others... Soup...

Today it is a Ginger Butternut Squash Soup and I decided to add garlic and garnish it with Gorgonzola cheese, apple, Italian sausage for protein and slices of baguette for carbs. There are lots of other options that include coconut, lime, mushrooms, roasted garlic (try that next time).

As usual, the recipe is only the beginning and I already have strayed away by making my own stock with a left-over chicken carcass. This makes for a longer process, so if you don't have time, just use some low salt chicken stock as advertized in the recipe. The reason for making your own stock is because it is so much more flavorful and probably has a lot less salt. The disadvantage is the extra time it will take (at least a couple of hours), but you can do it in the midst of other activities, because the prep takes only 10 minutes or so.

Chicken in a pot of water, add carrots and celery, onions and  garlic (You can cut them in big pieces and then let this boil away till the chicken meat has fallen of the bones and the veggies get a little mushy). Strain the results over ice cubes to cool the stock down and put it in the freezer (overnight if possible, because then fat will solidify on top, which you can easily scoop away before using in your soup).  Strain again; this will remove even more fat. On low heat on the stove while you dice the vegetables:

I like to bake the squash in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil (25 minutes @ 375⁰C), and sauté the veggies with a little salt and pepper till the onions get translucent.  The low fat spicy Italian sausages (one is enough for two servings) go for a bit longer (45 minutes).

With the squash and other veggies done, in the stock they go, add thyme (and oregano plus fresh rosemary, because I had some leftovers), add salt and pepper to taste, bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 30 minutes as advertized.  Taste along the way! About halfway there, use one of those hand blenders to mash and mix all the ingredients to a fine emulsion then let it simmer till done.

For prep, cut the sausage up and add about half of one to each serving, pour the soup into the bowl, add a dollop of Gorgonzola cheese and slices of apple, garnish with some parsley. If you are not a Blue Cheese lover, replace the Gorgonzola with crème fraiche.

Since this is the main course, add a few slices of baguette (or Croutons to replace the baguette), a glass of wine and voila, perfection!

The sausage will add about 75 calories, Total Fat 5.0g (Saturated Fat 1.5g) and Cholesterol 35mg to the dish. Total should be less than 300 calories, not bad!

Better yet, it will taste so much better tomorrow. Freeze the rest for later!

Bon Appetit,

Dr T


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