Standing in front of the cupboards in my kitchen and peering into the depths of the refrigerator, I wonder what to make for supper. (Never mind that I have a weekly menu I usually follow ~ it has already gotten so messed up that it is unrecognizable by this point.) Although it would seem unlikely that I should make soup this close to the end of March, the fact that we are expecting a significant snow storm tonight belies that thought. But what kind of soup?
Taking another mental glance at the refrigerator’s contents, I realize that I have a head of cauliflower that needs to be used before it gets all spotted. Since I have no desire to waste a perfectly good organic cauliflower I get it out and plunk it onto the counter. What else to go with it…?
Every great once in a while some wild combination pops into my head. Keep in mind that I am not typically a wild-idea person culinarily speaking, and certainly my family is not adventurous when it comes to eating. I notice a languishing butternut squash on a corner counter. Ping! A weird idea comes into my head. Wondering if anybody else has ever thought of such a soup, I contact my good friend Google to see. (What did we do before such luxuries?) Sure enough, many entries are listed. Back to the kitchen I go to start the creation process comforted by the fact that this shouldn’t come out totally warped.
Here I simply must give a warning note. If you have never peeled and cut up an uncooked butternut squash, I have to say that it is not for the faint of heart nor the dull of knife! Yikes. I had never tried this before, but I have seen plenty of recipes that tell you to do it, so I assume that people have had success peeling squash. First off I broke one of my vegetable peelers (thankfully, not my favorite one.) I messed around and fiddled with different processes until I settled on the best way for me. I got out my large serrated knife and cut
off a relatively thin slice of the blossom end. Standing it on this now-flat end, I started at the squash’s “waist” and dug the knife in and cut/sawed down toward the bottom, curving slightly around the “hips.” This actually worked pretty well, but again, it is not an easy process. You’ll need to hitch up your britches for this one! My forearm and hand are going to complain tomorrow. I lay the squash on it’s side to do the top half of it with sideways slices. Good luck. (I suppose you could buy it already cut up….)
I have a terrible tendency to make enormous soups. I have cut this one down for you since I would guess most of you don’t want to make 1 1/2-2 gallons of soup at a time! But if you want to use an entire head of cauliflower and all of a medium butternut squash like I did, triple the recipe. 🙂
Cauliflower Butternut Squash Soup
- 2 c. chopped cauliflower (small pieces, randomly hacked up)
- 2 c. diced butternut squash (1/2-1″ pieces)
- 2/3 c. chopped onion
- 1/2 c. sliced celery
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 c. water
- 2 1/2 T. chicken-style seasoning
- 1/3 of a bag of chopped frozen spinach
- 2 tsp. Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend **
- 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. dillweed
- 1/4 tsp. basil
- 1/3 c. quinoa, well rinsed and drained
Toss everything except the quinoa into a large pot and bring to a boil. Gently boil for 10-15 minutes or until the cauliflower and squash are tender. (The onions might not be yet.) Stir in the rinsed quinoa and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, or until the quinoa’s little curls release and it becomes soft.
**Trader Joe’s South African Smoke Seasoning Blend contains smoked paprika flakes, sea salt, garlic, and basil. The label states that it “adds that wonderful Umami flavor, which can be elusive and difficult to achieve.” I’ve never had any Umami flavored anything before, but I think you could probably modified this soup with some hickory smoke drops and some Spike seasoning blend if you don’t have access to a Trader Joe’s.