Butternut, spinach and leek soup


Dave, if you're seeing this, guess what? It's what you're having for dinner. I wish I were better at taking pictures, because then maybe you'd be excited. This soup of the day owes in part to Lisa, actually, who told me recently that she tried putting spinach in smoothies and liked it. Maybe that's a common thing, but I just had to admire the idea. I thought I threw spinach into about everything routinely, but not that (do you hear Meatloaf whenever you say anything even vaguely similar to "but I won't do that", or is that just me?). On reflection, it shouldn't have been surprising at all, however. If wheat grass goes, why on earth wouldn't spinach?

So, not only is this soup semi-inspired by Lisa, it also happened a little by accident. I won't flatter myself into thinking you've noticed the recent lack of productivity on this blog, but the truth is I have not been exceedingly productive. I've been assiduously occupying free writing time with another project--a story for another day. It's not quite finished but almost, so chances are, I'll continue to be less prolific than the already average standard of approximately once weekly. I've also been a little absent-minded in the kitchen, because of the to-do list as always, of course, but more so because of the raving, sloppy, gargantuan mess that is the kitchen table!

If only you could see. Poor Dave; from new appliances not working to a whole kitchen cupboard shelf crashing out of the blue, this has been a demanding week for his precious off-hours (and so, he probably really deserves something he loves, like an Indian takeaway instead of spinach and squash soup...Lisa, it's ever so slightly possible he may have a small bone to pick with you). The result is miscellaneous (at least, to me, choosing to remain ignorant about how to confront the issues) piles across the table, and they've been sufficiently distracting that I've been less focused while cooking.

OK, maybe that last assertion is a stretch, but whatever the reason, I threw spinach into the food processor along with the chunks of roasted butternut and leeks without thinking. I'm glad I did it, too, because I love the results. They sing of spring. I used some "trash soup"/aka homemade veggie stock and added white beans I'd cooked up earlier in the week at the end. I don't know what you'll think, but I am sure the resulting combination has "notes" you might not expect, and I hope you like it, too.

Butternut, spinach, and leek soup

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch spinach (or about 2 cups)
  • 3 cups vegetable stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (optional)
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste)
  1. Place whole squash onto an ungreased baking sheet while already cooking, and prick in a few places with a sharp knife. Bake (at 350-400 degrees F), uncovered, approximately 60 minutes or until tender.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add leek and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. At the same time, remove skin and seeds from squash, and cut into chunks.
  3. Place squash and leek mixture in a food processor in batches, dividing the spinach, stock/water between each. Process until smooth and return to pot. Stir in beans, if using, and add sea salt and pepper to taste.