"Squashage" - A Savory Butternut Squash Soup

Yes, this soup is actually called Squashage. Now, before half of you hit the back button your browser, convinced that I've lost it, give me a chance. Squashage is a new kind of butternut squash soup, one that turns away from the typical sweet pairings (cinnamon, apples) and opts for more a more savory profile. I first made this soup while on a climbing trip, and the supply of spices in our cabin was spotty. I went with what I had, throwing a pinch of this and a pinch of that into the blender: garlic, some red chili flakes, and a bit of fennel seed. The rando mix of spices was a hit--we recreated it only a few days later, and "Squashage" (a cross between the words "Squash" and "Sausage," because of the flavor fennel seeds lend to the soup) was born. 

When I was still in High School, a restaurant opened on Pearl St that, due to a single dish, quickly gained my dad and I as fans. Butternut Squash soup. We would go back time and time again to order the same soup. My dad would pester the waiters to give us the recipe (they would respond with a rough outline). We would try to mimic the soup back home, and, disappointed, we would head back to Pearl St to get our fix. Then, one day, we were seated at a two-top next to the wall, and the moment we picked up the menu (that was a formality-- we already knew what we were going to order) we noticed the worst had happened: The menu had changed! Disgruntled, we ordered other things. (They were equally delicious and disappointing at the same time.)

Maybe I was channelling my memories of that soup when I first made Squashage, but it turn out completely different. It's better that way, because now it can become it's own legacy: that really amazing soup we made while on vacation with the funny name. It's smooth, creamy, and warm. It's a mouth-worthy image of fall, capturing everything in a single bite. Besides, it's fun to say: Squashage. Alone it's an appetizer, topped with sausage crumbles it's a meal. Warm or cold, it's the kind of leftovers you look forward to. 

"Squashage"

1 large butternut squash

1 large onion

3 cups chicken broth (the thicker the better--really good gelled chicken broth helps make this soup)

1 tablespoon thyme, dried

1 tablespoon rosemary, dried

2 garlic cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

2 teaspoons fennel seed

Optional: 1 cup cooked Italian sausage crumbles (warm)

 

1. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Peel the onion. Place both in a pot to steam until the butternut squash is tender all the way through (you can do this in a pressure cooker to speed up the process). Once the squash is tender, remove it from the pot and set it aside until it is just cool enough to handle. 

2. Place the spices, garlic, and cooked onion in the blender. Use a metal spoon to scrape the flesh from the skin of the squash, adding the flesh to the blender and discarding the peel. Pour the broth into the blender. (Note: depending on the size of your blender, you may have to do this in several batches). Blend on high for 2 minutes (I use the "Soup" setting on my BlendTec).

3. If the puree need to be heated up again, pour it into a soup pot and bring it to a simmer on the stove. If you used the soup setting of a blender, it's likely this is unnecessary. 

4. Pour into serving bowls and sprinkle with a few sausage crumbles. Serve hot! 

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