Butternut squash season is short-lived here in Germany. It seems to be available only for about six weeks, starting in early October. I bought a bunch of butternut squashes, but somehow managed to use them all, save one, by early December! I decided to use my last half of a butternut squash to try this simple soup recipe from the quinoa chapter in Rebecca Wood’s cookbook the Splendid Grain. Wood is an expert on quinoa. She was travelling around Peru and Bolivia researching her book Quinoa: The Supergrain in the mid 80’s, long before almost anyone else in the States had even heard of quinoa.
- 4 tsp. unsalted butter (or olive oil)
- 1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
- 2 cups minced onion
- 4 cups diced butternut, kabocha, or buttercup squash
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 4 Tbs. chopped fresh chives or parsley
- Melt the butter in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and saute for 1 minute. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add the squash and saute for 5 minutes more.
- Add the quinoa, stock, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the squash is quite soft.
- Use a potato masher to mash the squash until coarsely textural and creamy. Serve garnished with chopped chives.
What’s written above is actually the original recipe doubled. I made the original recipe, and Derek and I polished off all four servings for lunch. So I figured I might as well double the recipe before posting it.
I followed this recipe closely except that I didn’t have yellow mustard seeds so I used brown seeds instead. I didn’t have any vegetable broth so I used water and one bouillon cube. The cube was salty so I didn’t add any salt to the soup.
Both Derek and I liked this recipe a lot. The recipe is simple, but it’s surprisingly tasty. Winter squash and quinoa have a natural affinity for each other. (See also Berley’s recipe for butternut squash and quinoa risotto.) And the soup has a lovely texture—the mashed squash contrasts nicely with the soft quinoa centers and the springy curlicues.
I had more butternut squash so I decided to make another batch of the soup for tomorrow. I used olive oil instead of butter and added some sage with the quinoa. The soup tasted pretty similar. The sage flavor was pretty mild. If anything it just muddied up the clean flavors a bit.
Wood says that she doesn’t usually peel butternut squash for this dish, and sometimes leaves the peel on even when using a green-skinned squash. (But maybe then she processes in a food processor?) I had already peeled my butternut, so I couldn’t try it with the skin on. Next time.