I’m truly amazed at how busy I’ve been since quitting my job. I still feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, so I don’t know what the heck I did before! I’ve definitely been cooking a lot more, and with cooking comes shopping and cleaning up. I’ve also been running, working out and yoga-ing. I was doing that before (minus the working out), but it was a lot more rushed. I’ve been getting to projects that I’ve put off for months, if not years. I’ve been catching up on a lot of blog stuff and attempting to work on my social media skills. I’ve been working alternately from my kitchen and from Panera, but I find I’m much less distracted at Panera. I’m planning to redo my home office so it’s a more useable space and more inviting than the kitchen counter! I’ve also been seeing friends a whole lot more which is a really, really nice change.
So… so far, so good! Not bored yet!
Today is a special day… it’s Secret Recipe Club day! The Secret Recipe Club is a group of bloggers who, every month, get assigned to another blog from which we must choose a recipe to make and blog! Assignments are a secret until reveal day (today!) when we all post our chosen recipes.
This month I was assigned the blog Oh! You Cook! It’s written by Dena who is librarian by day and blogger by night. She’s even written a cookbook– The Everything Kosher Slowcooker Cookbook! Anyone who has a cookbook has got to be good!
One thing I noticed immediately on Dena’s blog is that she has not one, but three butternut squash soup recipes!! Going into my assignment, I was totally feeling soup. It’s been chilly and foggy here every day since we got back from vacation, and soup just sounded good. I spotted Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Soup and it sounded amazing. But then I saw Butternut Squash Soup with Mango… and then Amaretto-Kissed Butternut Squash Soup! How to choose, how to choose? Dena mentioned that the amaretto-kissed version was the “world’s best butternut squash soup.” Between that and the fact that I love everything almond flavored, I had to go with that one.
And I’m so glad that I did. The soup came out amazing. Creamy and velvety. I was afraid the amaretto flavor might be too overwhelming, but it wasn’t at all. It just gave a very slight hint of almond aftertaste. So perfect.
- 1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ cup Amaretto
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
- ½ cup heavy cream or half & half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Toasted pepitas, for serving
- Crusty bread, for serving
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Toss squash, carrots and onion with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Spread evenly on one or two baking sheets. Roast 25 minutes until squash and carrots are softened and lightly browned, tossing once halfway through. Remove baking sheets from oven and set aside.
- After about 15 minutes of roasting, heat remaining olive oil in a 6-quart or larger pot over medium heat. Add garlic and thyme, and saute 30 seconds to release flavors, then carefully pour in the Amaretto. Bring to a boil, then simmer a few minutes until Amaretto is reduced by about half. Stir in stock; cover and bring to a slow simmer.
- Stir in roasted veggies. Re-cover and return to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until squash and carrots are very soft.
- Use an immersion blender (or transfer the soup to a regular blender) to puree the soup until there are no lumps remaining.
- Remove from heat and stir in heavy cream. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve topped with pepitas and alongside some crusty bread for dipping!
Need a dipper for your soup? Check out Dena’s No-Knead Potato Breadsticks. They look fantastic!