Thursday, January 8, 2015

Winning the Battle with the Butternut

my new peelers

One of my daughters gave me a recipe for a delicious butternut squash soup, which I wanted to make. So I went to my local supermarket and saw whole butternut squashes at ridiculously cheap prices. I also saw peeled and sectioned butternut squashes at twice the price. But the cut-up squash looked a little sad--a bit dry, I thought. So I bought the whole squash.

Only later did I realize what a pain in the neck it is to peel a butternut squash. My regular swivel peeler just wasn't up to the job. It slipped and slithered over the skin, not getting any traction. Finally, I gave up on it and just used a paring knife. But I suspected that there had to be a better tool.

The next day, I stopped by Kitchen Outfitters. I felt somewhat guilty corralling a sales clerk to discuss the pros and cons of something as cheap as a vegetable peeler, but the clerk treated my request thoughtfully. She suggested two different types of peelers, and I bought both. The black one shown above is different from my regular swivel peeler, because it has a serrated blade and padded handle.  It is called the Messermeister Pro Touch Serrated Swivel Peeler, and it worked like a charm. It cost around $8. So did the red Kuhn Rikon Swiss Peeler, which cost less than $4.

Now that you know how to win the battle with the butternut, here's the recipe for a soup that tastes sinfully rich but is not. It's also very quick to make, less than an hour. I've adapted my daughter's recipe so it reflects the soup that I made--her recipe gave options that I ignored.

Butternut Ginger Soup

  • 2 TBSP butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 TBSP dry sherry
  • 1 butternut squash halved, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup milk

1. Heat butter in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and squash. Cook, stirring until sherry evaporates, about 30 seconds.

2. Add stock, salt and pepper to taste, and ginger to the pan. Reduce heat and simmer everything about half an hour, or until squash is soft.

3. Add 3/4 cup milk and blend, using either a stick blender or a counter-top blender. Reheat and taste for seasoning. Add a bit more milk if too thick, but the texture should be very creamy.

Serve with croutons or chopped chives on top.


  1. Replies
    1. Awesome tips, Liz. Interesting -we're having butternut soup tonite! Your recipe is close to ours except Warren adds an apple to ours. We also like to garnish with uncrystallized candied ginger, chopped into tiny pieces. Warren likes a dollop of sour cream on top -I'm not a sour cream fan, tho.