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Butternut Squash Soup with Chicken, White Beans and Spinach

Butternut squash soup is something I haven’t gotten into. It’s often flavored with curry or cumin which isn’t my favorite and it’s always lacking protein. It’s sort of like drinking very orange, healthy tea. It’s not a meal, it’s a drink that one eats with a spoon. Ain’t nobody got time for that (I say this fifteen times per day). This recipe needs “beefing up”. So America’s Test Kitchen, my boo, came up with a recipe for “hearty butternut squash” that included making a separate “squash broth” from the uneven cuts of the bulb part of the squash – plus there was a finicky time constraint so that the cubes of squash didn’t turn to mush. (Insert my favorite line here). I added chicken and figured out a way to streamline the recipe, starting with PURCHASED peeled/cubed butternut squash. You heard me. Peeling and cubing butternut squash is hard work and I don’t like it. The end.

I used many of the suggested flavor additions, from the soy sauce to the tomato paste, plus some of my own like swapping an onion for the leeks and the addition of thyme. I loved this soup so very much; my husband “liked it” but upon further prodding I discovered he thinks all soup should taste like a) chicken noodle soup or b) minestrone. He’s a work in progress. He ate an early bowl of soup on Sunday and headed to a meeting; when he came home he announced he was shockingly still full from my soup! Hellloooooo. Chockfull of protein and fiber, that sounds about right. Didn’t stop him from eating a shockingly large amount of chocolate ice cream.

Butternut Squash Soup with Chicken, White Beans and Spinach

Serves 6

4 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 lg (or two medium) onion, diced

3 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1 tbsp. tomato paste

2 lb. cubed butternut squash

6 c. chicken broth

2 (15 oz) cans white beans, drained and rinsed

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded or chopped

6 oz. fresh baby spinach

1 tsp. white wine vinegar

3/4 tsp. kosher salt

1. Heat butter over medium heat in a soup pot.

2. Add onion and saute until softened and golden, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes.

3. Add garlic, soy sauce/Tamari, thyme and black pepper. Stir to combine.

4. Add tomato paste and stir constantly, about two minutes.

5. Add squash and broth and turn heat to high. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer about ten minutes or until squash is tender. Blend with a stick blender or transfer to blender/food processor. Blend until smooth or leave slightly chunky.

6. Add beans, chicken, spinach, vinegar, and salt. Stir to heat through and let cook until spinach is wilted. Taste for salt and serve.