Science Corner Butternut squash is not only delicious but alive with nutrients - carotenoids (that become vitamin A in the body), antioxidants, anti-inflammatory molecules, types of starches that aid in blood sugar regulation, B vitamins, including folate and surprisingly, a bit of omega-3 fats in the form of alpha linoleic acid, also a potent anti-inflammatory agent. Squash is abundant in winter and affordable so there really is every reason to make it part of your family table. Combined here with antioxidant-rich spices that regulate blood sugar, exhibit antibacterial effects and boost digestion, to name a few of the benefits, this delicious and soul-warming soup is sheer health and deliciousness in a bowl.
Yields: Serves a family of 4
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped
1/4 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1 medium butternut squash peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato peeled and chopped
3-4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon, preferably Ceylon
1/4 tsp coriander powder
Salt to taste (skip for babies)
2 tbsp butter (optional)
1/8 cup pine nuts (optional)
In a pot for which you have a lid, heat the coconut oil on medium until shimmering. Add the leeks and sauté until translucent and softened, 3-5 minutes. Add the squash, sweet potato, ginger and stock and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potato and squash are soft.
If garnishing with pine nuts, while the soup is cooking, heat a skillet over medium and toast the pine nuts until golden for 1 minute, shaking often to prevent burning. Set aside to cool.
Uncover the soup. Stir in the cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and salt to taste. Cook for another 3 minutes covered. Take the pot off the heat and allow the soup to cool some. Transfer to a food processor or blend well using an immersion, hand-held blender. Stir in the butter for added creaminess and sheen, top with a sprinkling of the toasted pine nuts and serve. Pretend not to be disheartened when toddler asks you to pick out all the 'white things'. It means more deliciousness for you! ;)
Skip the salt and pine nuts and offer it to babies for a delicious and nutritious baby meal.