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Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Ham

Paleo Butternut Squash Soup with Ham and Ginger

Butternut squash soup is a lovely Fall meal, and is easy to make paleo. This recipe is for a large batch of soup that gives you plenty for leftovers. Feel free to halve it to make a smaller batch. As written, this recipe has a pronounced smoky ham flavor, which I really enjoyed. You can halve the amount of meat for a more subtle flavor. You can also substitute bacon for the ham. A printable version of the recipe and where to buy tools and ingredients are included at the bottom of the post. 

I really hate cutting raw squash (makes me nervous for my fingers!), so I always roast them whole and then scoop out the goodies inside. The trick is to poke holes all around the squash before putting it in the oven whole. This creates vents for the steam to escape -- otherwise you could end up with an exploding squash! Put the squash in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350 F until you can pierce easily with a knife (about 60-90 minutes for a 5 lb squash).  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While the squash is roasting, you can prep all of your other ingredients. Dice** the onion, apple, and ham**. Be sure to dice the meat finely. Mince the garlic and the ginger now if you don't have a garlic press** (which you can use on ginger, too!) 

When the squash is cool enough to handle, use a knife to cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and fibrous bits from the base. You can save the seeds to roast later if you want. 

Scoop out the cooked squash and place in a bowl. 

In a 5 qt or larger pot, add about 2 Tbsp bacon fat or lard** and cook diced ham for several minutes.

If you have a garlic press, use it to press the garlic and ginger directly into the pot. Also add the onion and apple to pot and saute until the onion is translucent. 

Add chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Mix in nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.

Add squash, mix, turn heat up to medium-high to allow soup to come to a bubble, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for about 20 minutes (although longer won't hurt anything). 

Puree in small batches in your high-powered blender. BE CAREFUL! My blender (which may just be my new favorite kitchen appliance, the Ninja) has a vent in the lid that must be opened when blending hot foods. 

If you are using a blender with a plastic pitcher (like a Ninja, Blendtec, or Vitamix --- I'm giving away one right now!), please do what you can to minimize the leaching of chemicals from the plastic as much as possible (because ALL plastics leach endocrine-disrupting chemicals with estrogenic activity). Work quickly and don't let the soup sit in the blender any longer than necessary. With a high-powered blender, it just takes a few seconds to add a few cups (I used 2 at a time) and pulse until smooth. If you have the time and patience, you can even chill your soup before pureeing it by placing the pot in the sink in a bath of ice water (especially if you are making the soup ahead of time for a later meal). That being said: please don't stress over it, but it's good to be aware and mitigate exposure when you can.

NOTE: If you do not have a high-powered blender (or are using an immersion blender), you may want to substitute bacon for the ham, and cook the bacon until crispy, then remove from pot and crumble by hand. Save it until after you have pureed the rest of the soup, then stir in the crumbles. Or, leave ham in large pieces that you can retrieve from the soup before pureeing, allow it to cool enough to handle, and then finely dice and add the diced meat to the finished soup. This will change the texture of the soup, but the flavor should still be great.

Optional: put the pureed soup back on the stovetop to get piping hot again before serving. I put enough for my husband and I to eat for supper in the pot, and put the rest in a large stainless steel bowl in an ice bath in the sink to chill it for refrigerating the leftovers and also to freeze a few pints.

 **WHERE TO BUY TOOLS & INGREDIENTS**

 The following links for products that I used in this recipe are from my affiliate partners. My full affiliate disclosure is here. I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, but you pay the same price as everyone else. I appreciate your support and I only recommend products that I personally use and think you will love, too!

Paleo Butternut Squash Soup with Ham and Ginger

Recipe by Amanda Torres

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 60 - 90 minutes plus 30 minutes

Total time: 110 - 140 minutes

Yield: about 5 quarts

Ingredients

  • 1 large 5 lb butternut squash
  • 4 - 8 oz smoked, uncured ham OR bacon (for the ham, Maverick, Niman Ranch, or US Wellness Meats** are all great choices)
  • 2 medium onions (about 4 cups diced)
  • 2 small green apples (or 1 large, about 2 cups)
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic, pressed** or finely minced
  • 4 - 6 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger, pressed** or finely minced
  • 2 quarts homemade chicken broth/stock
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • to taste sea salt** and black pepper

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a sharp knife, carefully poke several holes in your raw squash to create steam vents. Place whole squash in a shallow baking dish and bake until squash can easily be pierced with a knife (about 60-90 minutes for a large 5 lb squash). Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  2. While the squash is roasting, prep all of your other ingredients and set them aside in a large bowl. Dice the onion, green apples, and ham. Make sure to finely dice the ham. If you do not have a garlic press, finely mince the garlic and ginger now.
  3. When the squash is cool enough to handle, slice it in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fibrous bits from the bulbous end. Save the seeds to roast later, if you wish. Scoop out the squash into a bowl.
  4. In a 5 qt or larger pot, heat 2 Tbsp of bacon grease or lard over medium heat for a minute or two. Add the diced ham and cook for several minutes, stirring often.
  5. If you have a garlic press, use it to press the garlic and ginger directly into the pot. Also add the onion and apple to pot and saute until onion is translucent, stirring often.
  6. Add chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Mix in nutmeg, salt, and black pepper.
  7. Add squash, mix, turn heat up to medium-high to allow soup to come to a bubble, then reduce heat to low and simmer gently for at least 20 minutes, but longer won’t hurt anything.
  8. Puree soup in small batches using a high-powered blender like a Ninja, Vitamix, or Blendtec. BE CAREFUL and make sure to open the vent in the lid so you don’t end up with soup splattered all over your kitchen.
  9. NOTE: If you do not have a high-powered blender (or are using an immersion blender), you may want to substitute bacon for the ham, and cook the bacon until crispy, then remove from the pot. Save it until after you have pureed the rest of the soup, then crumble by hand and stir into the soup. Or, leave ham in large chunks that you can retrieve from the soup before pureeing. Allow it to cool enough to handle, and then finely dice and add the diced meat to the finished soup. This will change the texture of the soup, but the flavor should still be great.
  10. Optional: put the pureed soup back on the stovetop to get piping hot again before serving. I put enough for my husband and I to eat for supper in the pot, and put the rest in a large stainless steel bowl in an ice bath to chill it for refrigerating for leftovers and also to freeze a few pints.

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