Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

This is one of my most requested recipes. I’ve made this recipe for my cooking club in Virginia on at least two occasions. I’ve also made it for Thanksgiving for probably the past six years, and also in my friend’s Argosy camper the past two years while camping.  You know a recipe is good when people request it over and over again.

This is especially good if you use my homemade Easy Chicken Broth. However, you can use organic chicken broth or veggie broth and it’ll still be delicious. You can even substitute additional broth for the milk to keep this vegan.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

For the roasted veggies:

  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil or olive oil.
  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small cubes.  You can also buy it prechopped at many grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s.
  • 2 Bosc pears, cut into quarters.  I don’t peel mine, but you are free to do so.
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and kept whole
  • 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the soup:

  • 2 cups Easy Chicken Broth (follow link for recipe), vegetable broth, or chicken broth
  • 1.5 to 2 cups milk or half and half, or additional broth if you’d like this to be dairy free.
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper, or more to taste
  • Penzey’s freeze-dried shallots (for garnish, optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.  Grab a sheet pan and a gallon Ziploc bag. Place the oil, butternut squash, pears, salt and pepper, and garlic in the bag and mix to coat. Dump the bag contents onto the sheet pan and roast for approximately 20 minutes. Stir the mixture with a spatula to make sure that things aren’t sticking or burning. Continue to cook until a knife inserted into the butternut squash comes out easily, about another 5-15 minutes.

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This is one of those recipes that begs for an immersion blender. Once the mixture is finished in the oven, simply put all the ingredients in a large soup pot on the stove. Add the chicken stock and then pulverize using the immersion blender until the mixture is smooth. Feel free to add additional seasonings at this stage (for example, curry powder or chili powder can be added if you like a little heat). Once the mixture is smooth, add enough milk (or half and half or broth) until the soup reaches your desired consistency.  Heat through the on the stove on medium-low heat without allowing the mixture to come to a boil. Turn off the stove and let sit for a few hours or up to two days before serving to allow flavors to meld. Reheat before serving. Note: best made the day before you plan to serve this.

Note: If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or blender and do it in batches. If you are doing this, keep in mind to only fill things half full if they are hot. And be careful! You don’t want to be splashed by hot soup.

I have to admit that this recipe has seen many variations over the years. If you are skipping the milk and keeping it vegan, keep in mind that any spices you add to kick up the heat is often tamed by dairy. And as many variations as I have done, I often find that people like the pure, simple version the best.

Enjoy!

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Low-carb Vegetable Pesto Soup

There is nothing more satisfying than a warm bowl of soup on a chilly day.  I work from home, so often have soup for lunch, especially when I’m sick of eating salads. This is a great recipe to make early in the week for lunches all week long. I like starting with my Easy Chicken Broth recipe for this soup, but you can also use organic chicken broth or veggie broth and it’ll still be delicious.

Low-carb Vegetable Pesto Soup

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoons Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed oil, or other grape seed oil.
  • 1 zucchini, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 turnip, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 bunch baby broccoli, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into small cubes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 cups Easy Chicken Broth (follow link for recipe), vegetable broth, or chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons jarred pesto (check the ingredients of your pesto if you are worried about hidden gluten.  I haven’t found one yet that is certified gluten free, but Wildtree just came out with their pesto and I can’t wait to try it!)

Directions:

Heat the oil in a pot on the stove over medium heat.  For soup, I really like my dark green Le Creuset cookware. Add the zucchini, turnip, and red pepper and saute for a few minutes.  Add the garlic, baby broccoli, salt, and pepper, then pour in the broth.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the pesto and heat through before serving.

FYI!  This is officially Phase 1 of Ideal Protein compliant if you leave out the pesto.

Enjoy!

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Easy Chicken Broth

You’ve probably heard the wonders of homemade chicken bone broth and may even have made it at home. I like to whip up a batch every few weeks and use it to make low-carb veggie soup with chicken and pesto. I found that it’s easier to start it on the stove and then transfer it to the oven to finish. I’m not sure why, but the broth stays clearer and looks more appetizing when I cook it in the oven. I’ve also started using distilled water when I make mine, so that could also have something to do with it.

Easy Chicken Broth

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in chicken breasts, with or without skin
  • 2 tablespoons Wildtree Natural Grapeseed Oil or other grape seed oil.
  • 10 baby carrots
  • 2 stalks celery, rinsed well and chopped into 2″ stalks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled but not chopped
  • Distilled water (1 gallon)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 250F

Season the chicken with the salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven in the stove over medium heat.  Brown the chicken on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Don’t bother cutting it up.  Add the garlic, carrots, and celery to the pan and cook for about one minute. Make sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Fill the pot almost all the way to the top. Leave on the stove and bring the mixture almost to a boil.

Cover the pot and put it in the oven. Cook for about 60 minutes, open the lid and stir, then cook for another 60 minutes. You can add more water to the pot if it’s getting low. After two hours, check the temperature of the chicken. Using a meat thermometer, make sure that the meat has reached 165F.

I often I let this sit overnight to cool down, then discard the celery, carrots, and garlic (they’ve given all their flavor away) and start with fresh vegetables to make soup. I always shred the chicken and add it the soup and/or use it for salads.  You can make this into a regular chicken vegetable soup if you add celery, carrots, and onions.  Add a little garlic to give it some extra healing powers.  And I often throw in 2 tablespoons of pesto just to liven things up.

Enjoy!

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