Monday, September 01, 2008

Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup

Update: Originally, I posted this recipe in September but today Jessica at Life as Mom is having a Harvest Recipe Swap. I don't make too many "Harvest" type recipes...but I think this one fits the bill so I thought I'd post the link in the Swap. I started off this post talking about homemade baby food so you can just scroll down to get the recipe. I hope you enjoy it!


Now that we have a little one in the house again, I'm back to making my own baby food.  Years ago when Ella was an infant I turned to Wholesome Baby Food to learn how to make my own and started doing it because:

  1. It's cheaper
  2. It tastes better, in my opinion (Have you ever tried jarred peas? Yuck!)
  3. I can offer a variety of foods (Since I freeze it in small ice cubes, I can offer several types at one meal rather than just a large jar of food.)

Yeah, it's more work than just buying a jar off the shelf. But, since I don't have have a paying job to go to everyday, I have some time that I can spend making the food. It really isn't that hard, and I like doing it. I usually take maybe ten minutes a couple of times a week to prepare a different kind of fruit or vegetable, so it's really not that much work most of the time.

Butternut squash, however, is a little more involved because it's best if you bake it in the oven for about 40 minutes and then puree it. That is a little more work than I want to do just for some baby food. So, I decided that if I'm going to all that trouble to make some food for Lucie, I want to make some food for the rest of us too!

So tonight I made Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup using a recipe I got from MOPS a couple of years ago as inspiration. Brett gave it "two thumbs up" so I thought that I'd share it with you too. It's a very "fall-ish" sort of recipe. And like most soups, you can be flexible with the amounts -- namely with the squash & the chicken. My recipe calls for 1/2 of a butternut squash (I used the other half for baby food) but you could use all of it if you want.  This soup is very good with homemade bread and butter!

Butternut Squash & Chicken Soup

1/2 butternut squash (about 3 cups prepared)
1 Tablespoon oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 cups water
4 teaspoons Better than Bouillion Chicken Base (or substitute chicken broth for water & base)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg*
1/4 teaspoon cloves*
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger*
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon*
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups natural applesauce (no sugar added)

* If you don't have these spices, you could try using 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice as a substitute. If you do want to use individual spices, you can find some of them in packets with the Mexican Food spices - they're usually $1 or less here in California. It's much cheaper than buying it in a bottle...especially if you don't use them often.
  1. Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. (To make the squash easier to cut, try microwaving it whole for 2 minutes -- but be careful because it will get warm.) Place squash cut-side down in a baking dish with an inch of water. Bake for about 40 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
  2. While squash is cooking, heat oil in a large stockpot. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add water and chicken base (or broth) and spices.  Stir well.
  3. Add chicken and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from pot and shred with two forks.  Return chicken to the pot.
  4. Add applesauce and mix well.  (If you don't want the added sweetness of applesauce, you could omit this.)
  5. When butternut squash is cooked, carefully remove the skin from and chop into small bite-sized pieces.  (I used only 1/2 of the squash for this recipe.  Use the other half for something else, or use it all if you prefer.)  Add to the soup and stir well to combine. Continue cooking for a few more minutes until the squash is heated through.

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