Farmers’ Market Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup
I’ve lived lots of places over the years – most military families have. Each place that I have lived, I have made a point of getting out and enjoying local foods and culture. It’s one of the perks of military life. When I lived in Germany, it was going to the market in the square and enjoying fresh produce and baked goods from the Bäckerei.
When we lived in North Carolina for an extended time, I spent some time growing my own food, but also getting out and taking advantage of the wild food in the area. I had a secret blackberry patch that I visited each summer. It was the best blackberry patch with huge, juicy blackberries in abundance. One year I picked 12 gallons of fresh, wild blackberries. I spent many days making homemade jelly, blackberry preserves, and froze several gallons of whole blackberries for future baked goods. I never shared the location of my secret blackberry patch until we actually left Fort Bragg.
When we lived in Alaska, enjoying the wild abundance took on a whole new meaning. We hunted moose and caribou, and brought home coolers full of wild salmon and halibut that we pulled out of the ocean ourselves. I spent many an afternoon out on the tundra picking wild cranberries and blueberries. All of these local foods nourished and fed my family. One of those afternoon blueberry-picking sessions, I spent with a native Alaskan, and was treated to stories of her culture and heritage while looking out across the vast wilderness. It was an afternoon to remember.
Now that we are in Alabama, I may not have a freezer full of moose and salmon, but I can still take advantage of local bounty through the tamer means of farmers’ markets. We have numerous weekly markets here in the Redstone Arsenal area to choose from.
On one recent afternoon I headed to the Greene Street Market.
This weekly market takes place on Thursday afternoons and runs all the way through October.
This time of year there is a beautiful rainbow of healthy and delicious produce being harvested. Just look at all the potential!
The Greene Street Market doesn’t just have great food. There are also vendors and craftsmen with their wares to sell, and featured chefs sharing delicious food that you can enjoy while walking around. And on this day, great blues music to hum along to.
So the other day I spent some time walking around, checking out all the stands and thinking about all the dishes I could make from these beauties.
On this particular day I brought home several goodies, including fresh beans, peaches, apples, apple cider, fresh pork sausage, and more.
Today I’m going to share a simple recipe that you can make from one of the things you can find in abundance right now at your local market – butternut squash.
I have to tell you, that as a busy mom I love my crockpot. Some days there are just not enough hours in the day. But you can toss some ingredients in a crockpot and with little effort you have a great meal waiting for you at supper time. Some crockpot recipes are “cook all day” sorts, but others, like this one, are the kind you can make in an afternoon. Start it just before the kids come home from school and with just a few other steps, supper will be ready in no time.
To begin, peel and deseed two pounds of butternut squash. Cut the meat of the squash into 1-inch pieces and place it in your crockpot. Add in a cup of vegetable broth.
Sprinkle in a teaspoon each of salt & pepper. Cook these together on high for 2 hours.
When they are just about finished with the two hours, dice a red bell pepper and an onion. Sauté these in a skillet over medium heat with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. While they are sautéing, grate a teaspoon each of garlic and fresh ginger. Cook the pepper and onion until they are tender and just beginning to get a little color. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for one final minute.
Add them to the crockpot and pour in a 15-ounce can of coconut milk.
With an immersion blender, blend the contents of your crockpot until they are smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a potato masher and mash everything until it is as smooth as you can get it.
Add in ¼ cup of plain (unsweetened) peanut butter and a teaspoon each of fish sauce, soy sauce, and curry powder. Stir these all in and cook for one more hour.
Just before serving, stir in the juice of a lime.
Serve the soup topped with sliced scallions. Enjoy!
Note: This makes 4-6 servings depending on appetite. Allow about 3 ½ hours start to finish.