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.
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.
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…
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.