Three ingredients. Three steps. I’m big on easy, easy, easy recipes during the week, which is why I recently started posting recipes that take just a few simple ingredients and turn into a tasty dinner dish. Today’s recipe for miso butternut squash soup is my newest contribution to making your life easier. Click through to see!
Step 1: Gather your ingredients
For this miso butternut squash soup, the only things you need are miso paste (usually found in the refrigerated section of an Asian grocery store), a whole butternut squash and chicken broth. Miso is fermented soybeans, and before you turn up your nose, it’s honestly one of my favorite staple ingredients in the house. The salty-sweet density of miso paste makes it an ideal flavoring for all sorts of savory dishes. I’ve used miso to marinate salmon (take a step back in time and look at how basic my food photos used to be), cream into a butter to roast a chicken until it’s crispy, and yes, even just make a simple, clear broth with chunks of firm tofu bobbing up and down inside.
Step 2: Roast the Butternut Squash
Roasting a butternut squash is really easy. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, cut your butternut squash in half lengthwise (so that you’ve got two basically identical halves) and then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then, smear your butternut squash with a generous tablespoon of olive oil, so it gets all shiny like the dancers in Magic Mike. Next, line a baking sheet with tin foil and put the squash halves, cut side down, on the foil.
Then, I usually splash a little water into the pan, just to keep things nice and humid in the oven while the squash roasts and to keep it from drying out. You’ll know your squash is done, 45-50 minutes later, when you can pierce through the skin easily with a fork. Take it out and let it cool. You can do this step ahead of time; I usually like to roast vegetables that I’ll be using during the week on Sunday night while I catch up on my “stories” (i.e., reruns of “Golden Girls“).
Step 3: Assemble and Simmer the Soup
The last step in making this brilliant miso butternut squash soup is to put it all together. Scoop out that sublime, smooth butternut squash. If you’ve roasted it enough, it should come away easily from its skin with a spoon. If you haven’t, you’ll know right away, because you’re struggling. If that’s the case, you can still save this whole operation, but you’ll just have to spend more time boiling your soup and maybe puree it in a blender later to really get a nice smooth soupy consistency.
And that the key, really, with this soup. You need plenty of stock (I usually use six cups) to really make this soup — well, a soup. I’ve had too many disappointing butternut squash soups in my life that come out thick and gloopy, and it’s usually because there’s just not enough liquid in the soup. You’ll know you have enough liquid when the soup dribbles off your spoon. Mash your butternut squash, add the broth and miso paste, and bring the whole shebang to a boil. Lower it to a simmer and let it just cook for about 15-20 minutes.
The result of all of your taxing, sweaty effort is a gorgeous, shimmering soup that’s deeply savory, with hints of sweetness that permeate through both the miso and the butternut squash. I love having this soup in my ‘fridge during the week to reheat and serve as a “pre-dinner” for my kids. They usually start squawking for food around 5:00pm, and sometimes dinner is just not ready. This soup is like my version of dog bones out the porch door. Let ’em gnaw on something to keep ’em quiet.
- 1 butternut squash
- ¼ cup miso paste
- 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth (to make a vegan version)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional: toasted sesame seeds for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Halve the butternut squash lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Rub olive oil all over the butternut squash.
- Line a small baking sheet with foil. Place the butternut squash, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and add about a ⅛ cup (a splash) of water to the baking sheet.
- Roast the butternut squash for 40-50 minutes or until a fork pricked through the skin goes through easily. Remove the butternut squash from the oven and let cool slightly.
- Scoop out the flesh of the squash and put it in the bowl of a food processor. Add a little stock (about ¼ cup to ½ cup) and puree the squash until it's nice and smooth. Add the miso paste and pulse to mix the butternut squash through.
- Return the butternut squash mixture to the stove and place it in a large, deep pot. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Bring the soup to a boil, then lower to a simmer and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with garnishes of sesame seeds.
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