I affectionately call my husband the fridge police and he doesn’t mind. He’ll come into the kitchen, usually when I’m getting dinner started, and go through the contents of the fridge. “What about this?” he’ll say, or “do you think this is going off?” and “how long has this been here?” All of which require me to stop what I’m doing and investigate his findings. Sometimes I’m ok with it and other times… It’s not that I mind, it’s the timing and sometimes the questions interrupt my train of thought or I lose the spot where I am in a recipe. Before our daughter headed out west, she bought a ton of food for her meal prep (she didn’t eat her meals with us as her work schedule didn’t allow). We’ve slowly gotten through the excess with the exception of apples and oranges; the apples are starting to show wrinkles. I could make applesauce, apple crisp or an apple pie but I wasn’t feeling inspired until I decided to make soup. I was at our local market on the weekend and picked up ginger and butternut squash from Elmridge Farm. The only place I found ginger as fresh as this was when we lived in Asia. I was delighted to see this and knew it had to go into the butternut squash soup.
Ginger and I haven’t always been the best of friends even though I know it’s good for me. However, when it’s young my palate allows me to savor it without the biting, peppery, pungent taste. Cooking it also allows the flavors to mellow. Ginger is a herb that is used as a spice and for its medicinal qualities. It helps to bring back your appetite, settles an upset stomach, aids in digestion, helps arthritis, morning sickness and motion sickness. For more health information on ginger, click here.
Serves 4 to 6
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and chopped into similar-sized chunks
4 leeks, cleaned and sliced (white parts only)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, chopped
2 apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups water
chopped parsley for topping
In a large pot over medium heat add a splash of olive oil and the leeks. Allow leeks to cook until very soft (about 15 minutes) but keep an eye on them as you don’t want them to brown. Reduce the heat if the leeks do start to brown and more olive oil if it becomes too dry. Add garlic and ginger and allow these to release their aromas before adding the butternut squash and apples. Stir the squash and apples and add chicken stock and 1 cup of water. You may need to add another cup of water depending on how thin you like your soup. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until squash is soft, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat and purée the soup until smooth. Spoon into bowls, drizzle your favorite oil on top and garnish with chopped parsley.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: A hearty soup that’s perfect for this time of year when the temperatures begin to dip and the days become shorter. Young ginger, like the one in the above photo, has a very mild taste compared to the ones you see in the grocery store with a thick skin. If you can’t find young ginger, you might want to scale back the amount indicated if you’re not a big fan of it. Enjoy!