Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}The first time I made this soup a few weeks ago, I instantly tasted her. I know weird, but I was reminded of my grandmother, her cooking, and my love for her. Growing up, whenever I was in Portugal there wasn’t a day that our house didn’t have soup. If there wasn’t, either we had been away or grandma wasn’t feeling well. I grew up learning that a household should always have a pot of soup on hand; for busy days where you want nothing to do with cooking, for days you just want something light, or you were out working the land all day, and family comes over at 9pm for dinner. Soup is the perfect solution for everything.

Her soups are also some of the most nutritiuos bowls you’ll eat. It’s full with plenty of different vegetables grown on the farm, that leaves you more than satisfied, aside from the half bottle of olive oil she adds to it, which I’ve paired way down in my soups. I’m still not sure why so much olive oil, she says it makes for a smoother soup, personally I don’t see the difference but her soup does have a unique taste like no other, so I guess that could be it. Or that it’s also homemade olive oil that she uses.Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}Technically speaking this isn’t exactly my Avo’s soup. She doesn’t add ginger, or sweet potatoes or dried sage, but the technique, texture, basic root vegetables and flavors are all her. She also didn’t sauté her vegetables before making the broth, this is my take on it. I think sautéing a soup’s vegetables beforehand adds another depth of flavor that simply cooking them in the water does not posses. It really does add a delightful roasted flavor, that makes this soup even more comforting. I actually do this step for all my soups. Plus, allowing the vegetables to roast and cook slightly prior to adding water, allows for less cooking time which saves most of the nutrients and flavor from the vegetables. Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo} Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}What is iconic about my Avo’s soup is that she uses her garden green beans. I think they are what make the soup, mind you they’re freshly picked and are out of this world delicious eaten raw. As a little girl I would eat the green beans raw while helping her peel the strings off, and still to this day, love nothing more than a really good green bean. I haven’t had green beans at home for some time now because their freshest season here in NJ doesn’t last long. The same goes for Portugal, so during colder months, along with adding her dried beans she also adds cabbage or greens, like kale or collards.

I also like a bit of heat in all my dishes, so I add one to two dashes of cayenne pepper.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}It’s earthy, warming, yet very light, not heavy and over-filling like most fall soups can be. If you don’t like cabbage then swap it for another green, like kale, because this soup definitely tastes like cabbage. {If you do choose to add spinach, simply add it right at the end of cooking, and remove soup from heat.} Yes, I was the weird little girl who actually enjoyed cabbage and still do, so I love that you pick up the flavors of it in every bite.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}For the last three weeks I’ve had a large potful of this soup on hand. It was great when I wasn’t feeling so great, or when I was busy running errands all morning and had a healthy meal already made for me. There are many things I’ve learned and taken up from my grandmother, and her cooking is definitely one I’ll always cherish. This soup may not be exactly hers, but it was inspired by her, and reminds me of her each time I make it and fill the house with its scents. Each bowlful is a reminder of how thankful I am for her. Yes, a bowl of soup that all that and more for me.

So with Fall upon us, officially, today what perfect way to start off the orange and brown colored season then with a bowl of my favorite soup. It’s the best time of year to make it, when squashes and sweet potatoes are at their prime. And with plenty of chilly days ahead, I know a big potful of this will be all we really crave.

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup {Sopa da Avo}

Butternut Squash, Sweet Potato + Carrot Fall Soup 

Ingredients

1 inch – Fresh Ginger {peeled}

1 – Leek {chopped, only white part}

3 to 4 medium – Carrots {peeled + coarsely sliced}

1 small to medium – Sweet Potato {peeled + chopped in 1/2″ cubes}

Half – Small Butternut Squash {peeled + chopped in 1/2″ cubes}

3 – Dried Bay Leaves

1 tablespoon plus extra – Sea Salt

Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

1/4 cup – Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 to 8 cups – Water

Dash or two – Cayenne Pepper {optional}

About 2 cups – Cabbage {thickly shredded or chopped}

2 medium – Carrots {peeled + finely sliced}

About 2 cups {about 4 large leaves} – Collard Greens {or Kale}

2 teaspoons – Dried Sage

Recipe

In a large saucepot, heat olive oil. Add the ginger, leek and bay leaves, sauté until fragrant and leek becomes translucent {about 2 minutes}. Add the carrots, squash, sweet potato, salt and season with pepper. Sauté until vegetables have slight char marks {about 7 to 8 minutes}. Add the water and cayenne, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat, and cook until all the vegetables are very soft.

Remove from heat, and remove bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, carefully puree the vegetables until smooth and completely blended. Taste base, season if necessary. Place back onto heat, add the cabbage, collards, carrots, and dried sage. Cook on medium heat until vegetables and soft {about 20 minutes}. Taste, and season if needed. Serve immediately. Refrigerate in an air tight container up to 1 week.


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