Thursday, November 15, 2012

BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH CANNELLINI BEANS + GREENS


Is Thanksgiving really next week? No way.


I'm not sharing standard Thanksgiving dinner fare with you today. Instead I wanted to give you a mellow and simple fall soup recipe that could easily serve a crowd of friends and family over the long holiday weekend. You may just want to make a pot of it to have on hand for a soothing non-turkey meal - I love the indulgence of a Thanksgiving spread, but my belly also begs for healthy breaks and this soup does the trick.



We make a pot of beans a week around here and a portion of them always end up in a soup of some sort. P, the kids and I all enjoy the protein kick without the meat. When I found Alice Waters' recipe for White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup the fall flavors appealed to me, but I worried that the soup sounded a bit starchy. Trusting Alice, I went ahead and made the soup and it was delicious and really quite delicate and flavorful. The sweetness of the squash is so nice with the creamy beans and there's plenty of broth to lighten things up. I did add greens to the pot just to give the soup yet another texture and nutritional hit. I used puntarelle because that's what we've got sprouting in our garden. Next time I'll use chard - the tender leaves and mild flavor would be just right here. Keep in mind that you can easily adapt this soup to be completely vegetarian or even vegan by using a good veggie stock instead of the chicken broth.



What are your plans for Thanksgiving? I'd love to hear about your favorite holiday recipes and traditions.


Recipe Note: 
  • If you are using dried beans, be sure to soak them the night before. 


 INGREDIENTS adapted from Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food
{printable recipe}
  • 1 cup dried Cannellini or other white beans (or 2-3 cups cooked beans)
  • 3 - 7 cups good chicken broth (vegetarians, a nice veggie broth would also be delicious here)
  • water
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 shallots, peeled and sliced thin
  • 4 sage leaves  
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium butternut squash 
  • 4 cups chard leaves: washed, trimmed, and coarsely chopped



If you are using dried beans do the following: soak the beans overnight in a medium sauce pan with at least 3 inches of water covering the beans. The next morning go ahead and drain the beans and place them in a large pot with 3 cups chicken or veggie stock, 4 cups water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. ( If you are using salty broth, you may not need to add any salt at this point). Bring liquid to a boil, then turn heat down to a simmer and cook beans partially covered until just tender. Cooking time will vary depending on the age and size of your beans. When beans are tender, taste again for seasoning and add salt as necessary. Salting properly at each step of the cooking process really helps to insure good layers of flavor in the soup. 


When beans are nearly done cooking, you can start in on the rest of the soup prep. In another large heavy bottom pot, (I like to use my big dutch oven to make soups), heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallots, sage, bay and a pinch of salt to the pot. Partially cover the pot, and cook the shallots for about 15 minutes until tender.


Peel the squash and cut the flesh into 1/2 inch cubes. Once the shallots are tender, add the squash to the big pot along with 6 cups of liquid. (Alice asks us to use 6 cups of liquid that is drained from the beans; I didn't have nearly enough liquid left once the beans were cooked, so I used the bean broth, along with additional chicken stock to make for a total of 6 cups. You could even add additional water, if you're in a pinch). Cook squash with the pot partially covered until it just becomes tender, and then add beans and greens to the pot. Partially cover the pot once again and cook briefly until greens are tender. Season with additional salt at this point.



Wishing you all a peaceful and delicious Thanksgiving! xxxooo

55 comments:

  1. Healthy and comforting! A great winter dish.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rosa! I know Thanksgiving is an American thing, but this soup would work anywhere;)
      xo
      E

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  2. Erin, your soup looks like good solace for the holidays.
    Thank you.

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  3. Hey Jane, Thanks! I hope the soup treats you right:)
    xo
    E

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  4. I love bean dishes, they're so comforting this time of year when it starts to get really cold. I always soak my own beans, all Greeks do, and I believe the result is far better than when using canned beans.
    This is such a lovely dish, Erin, and your photographs are, as always, beautiful!

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    1. Magda, you just reminded me of the big butter beans that I've enjoyed in Greece. Oh how I love that country and the food! Just this morning my daughter was saying how proud she is to be Greek - only 1/4, but still enough for her to be proud.
      xo
      E

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  5. Such a pretty soup! I think too often, delicious soups suffer from a bit of ugly syndrome - - not this one, though;)

    I've never heard of puntarelle, but I'm interested in it. I made a chard & spicy sausage soup recently that was similar to this, but beanless. I always forget to soak beans until riiiiight when I want them!

    We're headed to my boyfriend's family's house for Thanksgiving. Lots of life and laughter and good food - they're vegetarians who turn into carnivores for this one weekend out of the year:) Wishing you a terrific holiday, xoxo.

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    1. Emma, I think you'd dig puntarelle. It's kinda spicy and strong like a mustard green. Honestly, I've just begun to play with it in my kitchen. It's thriving in my backyard so I want to treat it right.
      I love spicy sausage soups with greens and beans - one is going in the book;) in fact. A warm meal in a bowl really suits me.
      Have a fun Thanksgiving with your boyfriend's family. I've got to tell you...my first boyfriend had vegetarian/artist parents and and they would sculpt fake turkeys out of squash. Wouldn't that be a site!
      xxoo to you Emma,
      E

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    2. That is too funny! Maybe I'll challenge them to a 'carve'-off this year ;)

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    3. You should Emma! Veg vs bird:)

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  6. Just yesterday I was scrounging the pantry to make lunch and decided to heat up some frozen (homemade) pureed pumpkin soup. I spooned the puree into pasta bowls and topped it with white beans, thyme leaves, shredded gruyere, and a splash of olive oil. The beans and pumpkin were delicious together, as I'm sure your squash and canellini pairing is too. Greens are a nice touch!

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    1. Jess, That sounds like a damned good lunch! Funny that squash/pumpkin aren't really too starchy together are they? I love your gruyere addition - and I bet it would be good on this soup too.

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  7. Erin - this soup looks simply perfect! With our chilly weather in the Bay Area lately this is something that I need to make soon. I love putting the rine from a block parmesan in my soups while it is cooking to further enhance the flavors. Will be pinning to make very soon. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day Holiday!!! (BTW - love the first photo - my mouth is watering)

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  8. I know what you mean. Once the chill is in the air all I want is soup. And a parmesan rind would a great addition to this recipe. Good thinkin'.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you too Lisa! xxoo
    E

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  9. Simple, healthy, and delicious! I just might soak some beans tonight and make this tomorrow!

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    1. Christina, I find that I can't go wrong once I soak a pot of beans:)

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  10. Happy American Thanksgiving! I love having a big pot of soup on hand when the weather gets chilly, this one looks fantastic

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    1. Thanks Stephanie, Oh I know it gets cold in your neck of the woods. Hope this soup warms your belly!
      xo
      E

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  11. Beautiful and healthy soup! I don't know what I'm cooking for Thanksgiving yet but I know is not going to be turkey. I better have a plan soon because friends are coming over :O. Happy Thanksgiving to you! xo

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    1. I hope you have a really good Thanksgiving. I'm sure you'll make something delicious!
      xo
      E

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  12. Yum. Just yum. With all of the upcoming indulgences, this looks like a good pot to have on the stove. Happy Thanksgiving Erin :)

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    1. Happy Thanksgiving to you too Renee.
      Always good to have a quick healthy meal on hand right? I'm gonna make another pot of soup today!
      xo
      E

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  13. Now, that looks like a soup that will warm you to the bones. All I need is a wedge of crusty bread with that, and I'm good to go. ;)

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    1. That sounds good to me Carolyn! Thank goodness Mariposa Bakery is here to save us GF folks on that front.

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  14. Such a delicious sounding soup and full of some of my very favourite autumn favourites.

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  15. We don't have Thanksgiving here, but we do have the cold weather that's perfect for comforting soups like this one! This would be perfect with a big chunk of fresh bread, so good.

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    1. Denise, I think you'd really enjoy the simple but satisfying flavors.
      xo
      E

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  16. I used never to like soup but recently have been broadening my horizons and making some delicious things with homemade chicken stock, different kinds of beans, bread and leaves. This looks like exactly the kind of textured, comforting soup that I'm learning to love. Beautiful.

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    1. A good homemade chicken stock does make all the difference and then playing around with flavor and texture combos is so fun. I also love how soup lasts and lasts.
      Thanks again for the lovely shout out on your post. Your tartlets were stunners!
      xxoo
      E

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  17. Stuuuunning! I want my face to go skinny dipping in that.

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  18. Looks delicious, you inspired me to go the garden to pick some swish chard and make a big pot of rainy day soup.
    Thanks Erin

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    Replies
    1. Yay! I'm so happy to have inspired you. You are making me smile.

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  19. I think this wil be a great addition to the beginning of my thanksgiving dinner. You are always coming up with something delicious and different. Wonderful pictures. Looks so yummy.

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    1. Oli, the soup would be a nice addition to a Thanksgiving spread. It's quite light and the flavors sing autumn.
      Happy holidays to you!
      xo
      E

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  20. Very hearty, healthy, and so comforting for this time of year.

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    1. Angela! So nice to hear from you. I'm sure you have something tasty planned for Thanksgiving:)
      xo
      E

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  21. Hi Erin,

    I don´t celebrate thanksgiving (it´s not a tradition in my country) but i do feel thankful every single day :)
    Your soup looks so good and hearty...I never made a soup with diced squash! I always transform squash into puree lool
    This soup is perfect for cold and rainy days!
    Thanks for sharing this recipe..and I ´ll make this soup :D
    Happy Thanksgiving*

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    1. AndreiaV, it's so good to be thankful every day. I'm glad to hear you feel that way.
      Diced squash is a tasty addition to soup - I hope you enjoy!

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  22. This soup looks lovely, Erin. Bright and comforting.

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    1. Kathryne, I figured we all needed a bit of bright comfort food during the holidays! I know I do.
      xxoo to you and your family this week,
      E

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  23. It's as delicious as it looks and easy to make, once the beans are cooked. Thank you!

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    1. Great! That makes me so happy to hear. I hope the warm bowl treated your belly right. xxoo

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  24. we had this for dinner tonight. i used canned beans and kale, so great. we all enjoyed it! my daughter always picks out kale but with this recipe and the quinoa patties she enhales it, thank you! and happy thanksgiving.

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    1. Yay! Thanks Mary Jo for letting me know. I'm so glad it was a hit for all.
      Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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  25. yup. this is exactly what i'm craving. but i'm so lazy and i just toss in a can or jar of white beans. i could learn a thing or two from you! patience. take the time to soak some beans. inhale. exhale. such beautiful soup!

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    1. Phyllis, Canned beans are perfectly good and make the whole soup so much quicker. I am just in the habit of soaking and cooking beans and I do love the meditative ritual of it. When I made the beans for the soup I stashed 2 more servings in the freezer. Now I can quickly make the soup a couple more times even when I'm feelin lazy.
      Happy Thanksgiving dude!
      xxoo
      E

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  26. Sounds like a wonderful fall soup! I think the flavors will go well with my second batch of turkey stock. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Jillian, Yes! The soup would be so good with turkey stock! You're inspiring me to cook up another batch myself.
      xo
      E

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  27. I love pairing greens with sweet squash. This sounds like such a great fall soup! And, I love something light and healthy like this after the Thanksgiving feast. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

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    1. Our Thanksgiving was delish. I hope yours was too Lisa!

      Now I need to make another batch of this soup with our giant vat of turkey stock as Jillian so brilliantly suggested:)

      xxoo
      E

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  28. Made this tonight for dinner…used the recommended veggie/bean stock, and mixed kales that were available at our local winter market. Scrumptious!

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    1. Fantastic! I'm so glad you liked it.
      xo
      E

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  29. I really enjoy your blog, recipes and photography and this sou looks delicious! Great idea to combine beans and squash!

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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