Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

January 5, 2010


Appetizers, Dinner, Fall, Holidays, Local Eating, Recipes, Seasons, Side Dishes, Soup, Winter

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You know those people who resolve piety in the New Year, embracing soups and fruit juice and brown rice baths? Well I’m not one of them. But I do love soup. It makes me feel warm and clean and hale. This year I was especially in need of some elixing.

It started, as with all great holiday seasons, on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Giving myself over to a solid month and a half of revelry was not even a question and I smiled from ear to ear at the sound of that first POP. This year, I drank my weight in champagne. I can’t seem to get enough of the stuff, a predilection that was born about a year ago, when boxes of congratulatory bottles started rolling our way. Worried that our house would be buried in booze before the wedding even arrived, Christopher and I began slugging back the bubbly, a drink I had formerly considered outré on any night other than December 31. Well 2009 really was a year of changes. And I rang it out just as I’d rung it in: with a very effervescent belly.


New Year’s Day ended on a high, if slightly indulgent note, punctuated by my ordering (with embarrassing gusto) “S’mortinis!” Let me just tell you, the S’mortini is a toxic way to end an evening—or start a year for that matter. Cream, chocolate liquour, vodka and a Godiva swizzle stick are topped with toasted marshmallows floating about… not exactly health—or dignity—in a glass.

Saturday marked my final indulgence: all-I-could-eat General Tso’s and dumplings finished off with dozens of chocolates, Dots and Tootsie Roll Pops that had been smashed out of a piñata. Our friend James, in town from New York, had a craving to visit his boyhood again and we obliged by hanging a rainbow donkey in the threshold. We stuffed it greatly with candy—some of which I pilfered through a hole in the Ass. After the ceremonial smashing, the floor was littered with candy wrappers, the confetti falling mostly at my feet.


Well, one massive, pickled belly-aching body later, there I was, standing at the grocery store on Sunday morning, deciding that all of those January health nuts have something right after all… at least for a month or so. So here I am, grinning in a whole new way, two day deep in soup. I’ve had at least 8 cups by now. The stuff is better than any swill I swallowed from November to January 5.

Believe it or not, I’ve already finished the batch. I made it just two days ago and have been the only one to touch the stuff, yet merely a single bowl remains. If my skin turns orange, I shall wear it proudly as an all-body badge of righteousness and good health.


Cleansing aside, this is a delicious soup: it is entirely vegetarian, but could easily be supplemented with some pork salt or Parmesan. It is a thick, sage-y brew, full of bright spots of tomato and smooth Cannelini beans. I had it for dinner last night with some salmon and wished I’d invited someone over to share in my merriment.


Butternut Squash and Sage Soup

Adapted from Gourmet

Serves 6

1 large butternut squash, cut into ½” cubes
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-2 T sage, chopped (or to taste)
1 medium onion, diced
1 15 oz can of Cannellini beans
1 small can of whole tomatoes, chopped
1 Qt vegetable (or chicken) broth
2 T olive oil
S & P
Toasted pumpkin seeds (for garnish)
Parmesan (for garnish)

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed soup pot.

Add onion and cook over medium until translucent, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add garlic and cook until slightly brown, about 4 minutes.

Deglaze pot with tomato juice from can then add squash, sage, tomatoes and broth.

Bring soup to a boil then turn down heat and simmer for thirty minutes or until squash is soft and broth has reduced somewhat.

To thicken soup, smash cubes of squash against the sides of the pot.

At this point soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat soup and add beans about 15 minutes before serving.

Garnish with sage and, toasted pumpkin seeds or Parmesan.

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