There are days when you open your eyes in the morning and feel so unwell that you wish you could just roll over and sleep for another century…for me, today is definitely one of those days. Yup, it’s not just the holiday season, folks; it’s also flu season. My head feels like a beehive, my throat is sore, my muscles ache, I am mildly feverish, and for some odd (and probably unrelated) reason, I have developed an unsightly swollen infection in my right eye that makes me look like I’ve taken a punch right to the face. AHHHHH.
This is totally an I-need-comfort-food kind of day. All I want in life right now is to sit on the couch under a blanket and watch TV while drinking my mom’s noodle soup, but seeing as my mama unfortunately lives in a different country, I need to nurse myself back to health (and before you ask, yes, it is also an I-want-to-wallow-in-self-pity kind of day). Anyway, I digress. So despite how easy my mom’s noodle soup is to make, I will not even attempt to replicate it because a) I feel like s*&% (excuse my French) and have no energy to cook, much less to go grocery shopping for the ingredients I would need, b) I have tight deadlines at work that I somehow still need to meet and c) I know that no matter how good it turns out, it just won’t taste like the sick-day soup I always had as a kid. So I’ve turned to the second best option: butternut squash soup, one of my new favorite comfort foods. Now let’s be clear, the extent of my “cooking” today involves de-frosting the frozen block of soup that I randomly decided to make out of leftover butternut squash a few weeks ago, and I must say I’m feeling very thankful to have this “rainy day” stash in my freezer already. This hot, hearty, and slightly spicey winter soup is just what I need for soothing my sore throat, but it is just as yummy on a non-sick day, so give it a try.
You will need:
- 1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cubed
- 4 leeks, cubed
- 3-4 cloves garlic, whole (you can use less or more, depending on personal taste)
- 2 cups hot water
- 2 cups chicken broth (I use low-sodium, low-fat)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- olive oil for roasting
Place the garlic cloves as well as cubed butternut squash, carrots and leeks on a baking sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Toss in enough olive oil to coat but do not go overboard because you do not want the soup to be too oily. Roast in a pre-heated 170 C oven (or ~350 F) for 30-40 minutes, until tender. Place the roasted vegetables in a food processor and pulse until pureed. Place in a large pot over medium heat, add cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne, salt and black pepper, and stir in chicken broth. Keep adding water as needed to create the consistency desired. Serve with cracked black pepper, a sprinkle of cayenne, plain or even with a drop of cream and a sprinkling of freshly chopped parsley. Enjoy!
In good health (or not, in my case today),
* Soup image courtesy of myrecipes.com… too tired to even take my own pictures today :(