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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Soup

We had a volunteer banana squash plant in our garden last summer, such a lovely surprise here in squash-bug country. But a banana squash can be a bit large for two people to consume without boredom and I'm pleased to find various ways to eat it so I subbed banana squash for butternut in this soup.



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Butternut Squash and Swiss Chard Soup


Adapted from:  The Make-Ahead Cook:  8 Smart Strategies for Dinner Tonight by America's Test Kitchen
Serves 4-5

4 c vegetable broth
1 T vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped 
4 scallions, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 teas minced canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce
1 teas minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teas dried
1 pound butternut squash (or other winter squash), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces  (3 cups)
1 pound swiss chard, stemmed and cut roughly into 2-3 inch pieces
1 c canned coconut milk
salt

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and scallions and cook until softened. Stir in garlic, chipotle, and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Stir in 1 c cubed squash and 2 cups broth, setting aside the additional 2 cups. Scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook until the squash is tender. Carefully process the mixture in the blender until smooth; depending on how your blender handles hot liquids you may have to do it in two batches. Return mixture to the pot. Or use a stick blender. Add the rest of the broth.

Stir in remaining squash cubes and chard and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender. Off heat, stir in coconut milk and let sit for about 5 minutes until heated through. Season with salt to taste. Serve.

If you want to prepare this ahead and finish a few days later (as the original recipe intended), let the soup cool after blending and add the second half of the broth. Let soup sit, uncovered, until cooled to room temp about 30 minutes. Store it covered in the refrigerator either in the pot or another container for up to 3 days. Place the remaining squash and the chard in the fridge, too. On the day you plan to serve it, remove from refrigerator, add the reserved squash and the chard, and continue to follow the instructions to finish the soup. 

Note:

When I last made this, I had only one cup of vegetable broth in my freezer and I didn't have lots of time to make more. So I subbed water for the broth and threw in a couple of carrots and a stalk of celery (all halved) and a few whole sprigs of parsley in with the onions and left them in while the squash cooked. I removed them when it was time to place the squash in the blender. In the 30 minutes of cooking time this added enough extra vegetable flavor that the broth wasn't missed. If you aren't interested in a vegan dish, you could substitute with chicken broth instead.

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