Butternut Squash Soup, Inspired By What's On Hand

One of my favorite things about the weekend is having the time to allow food to drive our relaxing days. I love it when something delicious is simmering up for hours on the stove. Friday night we had a to-go cooked chicken from Whole Foods Market. The next day we turned the chicken leftovers into stock. Homemade stock is so wonderful and aromatic. We used the stock as a perfect accompaniment for the butternut squash we had picked up earlier in the week at the market. A lovely butternut squash soup was born again!

We are improvisational cooks and Josh is fabulous at whipping up soup. A special love enters whatever is being cooked when homemade stock is introduced, it takes the meal to the next level. With homemade stock, we don't feel the need to add cream to the soup to create the richness, the stock just naturally does that in a light and refreshing way. We definitely didn't miss the extra fat and calories this time around. As with every batch of soup that doesn't follow a step by step recipe, but rather a more casual what's on hand creation process, this batch was a favorite. Unfortunately it's harder to recreate, but we can pull in flavors again that worked well for us.

Here's how to make some stock, throw aromatics into a pot, vegetables, herbs, chicken bones/carcass, and cover generously with water. Give it plenty of time (a couple hours) to simmer and let the flavors meld. Drain out the goodness and set aside, discard all remains.

Roast the squash with sea salt, pepper, and olive oil. Scoop out and add to LeCrueset, with the stock. Allow the squash to simmer for about 20 minutes to meld the flavors. We then blend it with a hand immersion blender right in the pot. A lovely way to increase the flavor profile of butternut squash soup is with ginger and also roasting sweet potatoes and carrots with the squash.

We grilled up a panini to accompany the soup. We chose Asiago, tomato, salami, and spinach to adorn our herbed foccacia. Top the soup with freshly candied walnuts (honey, salt, and pepper in a fry pan).  Give your improvisational skills a try, utilize those vegetables sitting in the bottom of your crisper, you'll be surprised what you'll turn out!

Disclaimer, I was compensated by Whole Foods Market as a WFM Ambassador for this post! Content including photos is purely at my discretion.