I’m always thrilled to see the reappearance of autumn squash (a.k.a. winter squash) in the supermarket. I snatched up the first butternut I could get my hands on.

KITCHEN TIP

While flavorful and healthy, the downside to working with squash like butternut, acorn, or spaghetti is that they are often tough to cut, peel, and handle. Sometimes I am just plain not strong enough to chop up a fresh squash, even with a large and sharp butcher knife, and I have to wait for Pastor Alaska to come home to help me.

Battle: Spaghetti Squash vs. Alaska from Scratch. Spaghetti Squash won.

If this is you and you’ve nearly taken off your hand or several fingers trying to work with squash (or perhaps have avoided it altogether for this reason), I have a revelation for you: you can roast squash WHOLE in the oven. No cutting, no trimming, no peeling required. And, as a bonus, the squash stays extra moist because all the juices stay inside.

Here’s how to do it: Pierce the squash a few times with a fork, place it on a baking sheet, and bake the whole thing in a 350 degree oven for about an hour (more or less given the size and firmness of your squash; one hour is just right for a good-sized butternut or spaghetti squash). Take the squash out of the oven and allow it to cool a bit. It will be soft and easy to handle, so just slice it in half, discard the seeds, and scoop out all that beautiful fall goodness. You can do this days or hours in advance and simply refrigerate (or freeze) the squash until you need it.

Now you’re ready to make this soup…

Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup via Alaska from Scratch

Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup via Alaska from Scratch

This is hands down my favorite butternut squash soup recipe I’ve made or tried to date. I loved the combination of the smoky, spicy chipotle with the natural sweetness of the squash and corn, and the smoothness you get from the cream cheese. My kids, who are not always squash fans, mistook this for a cheese soup because of the color and its creamy, savory quality. It has protein from the black beans and greens in the form of spinach for a terrific one-pot meal on a cool fall night.

Chipotle Butternut Squash Soup

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Adapted from [Taste of Home|http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Chipotle-Butternut-Squash-Soup]

Yields: 5 servings

  • 2c roasted butternut squash (see instructions above in blog post)
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1/2t cumin
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2c chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 3oz cream cheese
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1 (15oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (11oz) can corn, drained
  • 2c fresh baby spinach

Swirl the oil into a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, cumin, salt, and garlic to the pot and cook 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, being careful not to scorch the garlic. Stir in the butternut squash and the chicken broth.

Transfer the mixture to a blender and add the tomatoes, cream cheese, and chipotle. Cover and whirl until smooth.

Return the mixture to the pot. Stir in the beans, corn, and spinach. Cook, stirring often, until spinach begins to wilt and soup is heated through. Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed to taste.

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