Cooking With Maddie Newsletter #52

Butternut Squash Soup

Hi friends!

Well, fall is here. And I hate to admit it because of my loyalty to summer, but damn, I don’t hate these crisp mornings and cozy nights. 

The leaves are changing, I’m no longer sweating through my clothes and it’s finally “socially acceptable” to eat soup again— even though, let’s be real, I could argue soup is a year-round food, and we should all just say fuck it to what’s “socially acceptable.”

My bitterness towards summer ending (and tomato season coming to a close) is only subsiding because we can start making some of our favorite fall recipes. And no, none of them will be pumpkin spiced. Pumpkin spice is not and will never be my brand. Sorry not sorry.

This week, we kicked off fall the only way we know how— by making Butternut Squash Soup.

We first started making butternut squash soup, endearingly referred to only as “butternut” in this household, back in college. Our best friend Juliana— the one who also made cape cod salads every week for us— would make it for our entire household, and as you can imagine, finding something all 11 of us loved was near-damn impossible. But whenever J made butternut, it was rare to ever have leftovers.

Since graduating, we’ve all since continued making this soup in our new cities and homes. The soup became “our soup,” — making us all feel together, even when we were hundreds of miles apart. Till this day, whenever someone asks in the group chat, “What should I make for dinners this week,” without a doubt, someone mentions butternut. Year-round. Again, every season is soup season.

This is, by definition, good soup.

A collage titled, ‘Butternut Through The Years’

For butternut squash soup, here’s what you’ll need—

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 yellow onion, cubed 

  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed 

  • Salt and pepper 

  • 1 32-ounce chicken stock, plus extra water if needed

  • 1 ½  teaspoon cumin 

  • 1 ½  teaspoon white pepper 

  • ½ baguette, torn into small pieces 

  • Olive oil

  • Chives or parsley for topping 

Start by peeling and cubing the onion, potatoes and butternut squash. Doing this to a butternut can sometimes be tricky. After making this soup a few dozen times, I’ve learned that the best way to peel a butternut is with a very sharp vegetable peeler, and once you get some of the skin off, use a paper towel to grip the peeled section of the squash. These suckers can be slimy, and the last thing you want is the squash slipping from your grip and cutting your fingees. 

Once your veggies are cubed, brown your butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. This will take about 5 minutes, and it’ll smell freakin’ delicious. 

Add your cubed veggies to the pot. Stir so everything is coated with butter. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. 

Add your chicken stock to the pot, covering the veggies. If you don’t have enough chicken stock to cover the veggies, add extra water. Turn the heat to high, and bring to a boil. 

Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid, and simmering for 40 minutes, or until all the veggies are fork-tender. Every so often, give the soup a stir, making sure all the veggies get a turn under the hot broth.

While your soup is simmering, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F for your croutons. Tear half a baguette into small pieces. Place on a half baking sheet. Toss with a glug of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until toasted. Remove from the oven. Set aside. We used a delicious leftover baguette from The Fifth String.

After your soup has been simmering for 40 minutes, remove the dutch oven from heat. Let cool for about 10 minutes. 

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth. Add cumin, white pepper, and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper.

Top the soup with a glug of olive oil, chives or parsley and some croutons. 

For what’s been giving me life, it was all the love and support I received on my dad’s birthday. Obviously, it was a really tough day— yet again, another first. But I spent the morning making a cake he would have absolutely loved. My roommates made his favorite drink for me. I got to spend the evening with my best friend Marin, who’s consistently been there for me in my moments of need. I was comforted knowing my brother and mom were together back in St. Louis, celebrating my dad over his favorite food— sushi. And weirdly, all those little things made a really awful day a little bit better.  

Other things that are giving me life — taking daily walks around my neighborhood, and finding a new garden every day. Grabbing dinner at Ash’Kara with my cousin, Reggie. The launch of Care Creative, which I am so incredibly proud of my bff Care for starting. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll put in a request today. It was my sister — aka Cait’s sister— Abby being in town over the weekend. Spending time with her always makes me feel seen, empowered and loved.

It was seeing Van Morrison on Saturday night— and then Lake Street Dive on Sunday. Nothing cures Sunday scaries like Rachael Price serenading Good Kisser. Facts.

And lastly, it’s so many wonderful things happening in my friend group — my girl Gail got engaged, and Alyssa welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world. Lincoln Teahan — you are already so loved.

Wish I was with you,