Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wish it was autumn...

I love autumn. I love autumn! I love the crisp cool air, the changing leaves, and I also love the change of our menu to different kinds of soups! (My husband sighs here!) So what does autumn have to do with today? I mean, after all, it felt like it was about 95 degrees outside today, and muggy!

I broke down and made soup for dinner. Yes, and when the aforementioned husband came in from mowing the lawn, sweating, he looked at me like I was crazy. But I had the ingredients!

I had been given a butternut squash by a friend, fresh from the garden. STOP! Don't leave if you don't like butternut squash. I'm not a fan of butternut squash, but I do find ways to use it where it doesn't taste like itself. That's what I did tonight.

If you've never learned how to peel and cut a butternut squash, please check out the great step by step instructions at Simply Recipes! It is definitely something you need to learn before you take the first leap.

Southwest Butternut Chicken Soup

1.5 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced in 1" cubes
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1 32-oz box low sodium chicken broth
1 4.5-oz can diced green chiles
3 small corn tortillas, broken into small pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped or pulled chicken breast
1/2 cup half and half

In a dutch oven, warm oil on medium high heat. Saute onions and garlic for about 3 minutes until tender. Add the squash, and seasonings and warm for another 1 minute, stirring. Pour in the broth and chiles. Cover and bring to a boil. Stir, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add tortilla pieces; wait for a minute while they soak up liquid. Using a potato masher, mash the contents of the dutch oven to the consistency you want. If you prefer, cool 20 minutes and blend in a blender for a soft, smooth texture. When you have the consistency you prefer, add the chicken and half and half. Stir until blended, then warm to the desired serving temperature in the dutch oven.

This was a winner with my family, despite the fact that we're in the heat of August. Also, it wasn't too spicy, but enough to cover the butternut flavor! What is your favorite thing about autumn?

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