Butternut Squash Soup
It may only be December 12th, but to steal the famous words of Game of Thrones, WINTER IS COMING! I finally gave in yesterday. There was snow in the forecast, I went Christmas shopping and I bought a winter coat. Which reminds me, why is it that every year I realize suddenly I don’t have a winter coat? I live in Boston, we are used to snow and cold and all things winter, yet somehow every December I am scrounging around trying to find something warm enough to wear to brave the outdoors.
So after finally accepting that the 50 degree fall days are no longer going to pop up on my Weather app., I decided I wanted my food to keep me just as warm as my new coat. I had been meaning to make this recipe for weeks. I already had butternut squash in the fridge and had picked up some sugar-free pancetta and chicken broth earlier at the grocery store so I was armed with ingredients and ready to go.
The moment the smell of the butternut squash filled the kitchen, I knew I made the right choice. Seriously though, have you ever smelled roasted butternut squash because it’s the BOMB! Why didn’t someone tell me sooner?
One thing I should mention is that I am now officially 18 days in to my first Whole30. If you don’t know what the Whole30 program is, you can find the guidelines here.
I follow some amazing Whole30 accounts on Instagram and always played around with the idea of doing one. While I am pretty strictly paleo on a regular basis, Whole30 takes it to the next level. Thanksgiving was my breaking point. I decided it would be a good idea to eat my dads famous southern-style baked mac and cheese. So good! Growing up, we had this dish of creamy-cheesy-deliciousness on all major holidays since my parents grew up in South Carolina and it is a staple at big meals there. Turns out, when you don’t eat cheese for over a year and then have two servings of this butter-cheese-carbohydrate concoction, it doesn’t feel too good.
The next day, still feeling absolutely gross from the day of indulgence before, I sat down and decided to start Whole30 right then and there. It kind of worked out perfectly because I will finish on Christmas Eve. I’ll have to figure out exactly what I will do when Whole30 is over because I never want to feel as disgusting as I did on Thanksgiving and that is pretty much the idea and goal of the program – even though I’ll be able to indulge on Christmas I’m not sure I’ll want to. Yes, it will be nice to be able to have the occasional gluten-free cookie or throw some sugar-free sweetener in my coffee every once in a while, but I’m hoping the healthy habits I picked up will stick.
So this soup, which is Whole30-friendly, made me VERY happy when I had my first bite and felt like I found a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. The crunch and salt from the pancetta made it a game changer and the creaminess from the coconut crema (think paleo/Whole30 friendly sour cream) added the perfect amount of balance to the rich flavor. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Most importantly, stay warm!
Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Makes 4-5 servings
Approximately 1 cup chicken broth (read your labels and make sure there’s no sugar added in)
Approximately 1-2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (depending on how thick you like your soup)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon ghee/clarified butter
1 tablespoon of diced pancetta (if you want something less rich in flavor try sugar-free bacon/turkey-bacon or prosciutto)
1 large butternut squash diced into 2-3 inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place diced butternut squash on parchment paper on large baking pan
Drizzle olive oil onto squash
Let squash bake for 20-25 minutes or until tender enough to push down with a fork
Bring chicken broth to a boil and stir in cooked butternut squash
Mash butternut squash as thoroughly as possible and add in coconut milk until soup is desired thickness
Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder
Continue to let soup boil and place ghee/clarified butter in a pan over medium/high heat
Add pancetta (or bacon, etc.) to pan until brown then move to paper towel lined plate to allow excess oil to drain
remove soup from heat and use immersion blender to stir for a smooth texture
Pour soup into bowl, add in coconut crema (recipe below) and sprinkle crispy pancetta on top
Serve hot and enjoy!
coconut CREMA (SOUR CREAM) RECIPE
PREP TIME: 24 HOURS (FOR CHILLING), 1 MINUTE ACTIVE
COOK TIME: 1 MINUTE
TOTAL TIME: 2 MINUTES ACTIVE
1 CAN FULL FAT COCONUT MILK
¼ TEASPOON APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
1 TEASPOON SALT
CHILL COCONUT MILK IN REFRIGERATOR OVERNIGHT TO ALLOW THICKENING (IN CAN).
ONCE CHILLED AND THICKENED, DRAIN LIQUID FROM CAN LEAVING JUST THE THICK CREAM.
PLACE ALL INGREDIENTS IN BLENDER OR FOOD PROCESSOR AND BLEND ON HIGH-SPEED UNTIL COMBINED.
CHILL IN REFRIGERATOR.