Azteca Squash Soup and Freezer Craziness

I teach, and so the past few weeks have been a mixture of abandonment to the joys of summer and disillusionment at its ending.  The family and I have tried to go on lots of walks and hikes, and we’ve been using the ‘taj mahal’ of hiking backpacks, complete with bug net and sun cover.

Riding in comfort
Riding in comfort

But along with the fun of the summer, I’ve been starting to look forward to the semester ahead.  I know that with my schedule (which stretches into the evening hours), dinner will often not even be on a back burner… I usually turn to the crockpot on days that I work, and so this past week I sent the babe to the sitter’s and cranked out 40 meals in what should have been just four hours, but really took about eight. I can’t vouch for any of them yet, but reviews will follow later once we pop these guys out of our nearly-full freezer.

The one freeze ahead that I prepared just today that I can vouch for is a recipe for butternut squash soup that we’ve been making for years and that we realized freezes quite well.  We like it so much, and it makes us feel so gosh-darn healthy, that we’ve nicknamed it “spa soup.”This recipe jumped into my head today as I was staring that the dozen (!!!) butternut squash that are already ripe from my garden.  I decided to double the recipe that I am showing below and will be popping the extras into gallon bags in the freezer.  With a salad and some bread, this soup makes for an excellent (and healthy and vegetarian) meal.

Decided to roast up a few squash....
Decided to roast up a few squash….

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Azteca Squash Soup
adapted from December ’08 Bon Appétit; originally from Rancho La Puerta spa in Tecate, Mexico

2 lb butternut squash (I often use more J)
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp cumin
1 15 oz. black beans, rinsed, drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp minced seeded serrano chili or one minced seeded jalapeño
Plain yogurt or sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Place parchment paper on baking sheet. Rub two tbsp. of oil onto the split halves of the squash. Place cut side down on baking sheet. Roast squash until tender, about 1 to 1 ½ hours. Scoop squash into medium bowl and set aside.

Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until pale golden, about 8 min.

Mix in celery, carrots, and garlic; then add 1 cup broth. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add squash, 5 cups broth and cumin. Cover and simmer 20 minutes to blend flavors.

Puree soup using immersion blender, regular blender, or oversize food processor (in batches) until smooth. Add black beans, corn, bell pepper, cilantro, thyme and serrano chili. Cover and simmer 10 minutes

Season to taste with salt & pepper and top servings with dollop of sour creamAzteca Squash Soup

Enjoy… and freeze some to enjoy later as well. Your future self will thank you!

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