Grocery stores are filled to capacity with gourds and pumpkins a-plenty. Let's take advantage of this plentitude and enjoy some of the finer gourd things in life. Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, anyone? It can be the perfect solution to a cold, drizzly day, or a tasty Thanksgiving side dish or just a healthy snack. The best part is you don't have to wrestle with trying to peel the squash but you still get all of those lovely fall flavors, concentrated and elevated after it's smoked and simmers away.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Alder
SERVES:6 to 8
2 pounds whole butternut squash (about 1 medium), halved lengthwise and seeds removed
Traeger Veggie Shake
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 medium apple, such as Honeycrisp (they're delicious right now!)
1/2 small yellow onion
4 fresh sage leaves, still attached to the stem if possible
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup cooked, crumbled bacon, for garnish (optional)
A few dollops of sour cream or greek yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established, 4 to 5 minutes. Preheat to High with the lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.
Cut two large pieces of aluminum foil and lay one half of squash on each. Drizzle oil over the cut side of each half and season with the Veggie Shake.
Place the squash on the grill grate and cook for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is soft and the flesh is scoopable.
Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut the apple into medium dice. Cut the onion into medium dice. Melt the tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple, onion, and sage, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
When the squash is ready, set the baking sheet on a wire rack until the squash is cool enough to handle. Using a large spoon, scoop the flesh into the saucepan with the sautéed apples and onions; discard the skins.
Add the broth, water, and measured salt and pepper, stir to combine, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer with the lid on the pot, stirring occasionally and breaking up any large pieces of squash, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat, take out all of the sage leaves and stir in the cream and nutmeg, if desired. Using a blender, purée the soup in batches until smooth, removing the small cap from the blender lid (the pour lid) and covering the space with a kitchen towel (this allows steam to escape and prevents the lid from popping off). Alternatively, use an immersion blender and purée until smooth.
Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve garnished with the pumpkin seeds, bacon and sour cream if using.