‘Tis the season for warm and delicious soups! This recipe was inspired by the roasted butternut squash soup I recently gobbled up at Heirloom, a restaurant located in Beaver, PA. I think my interpretation came out pretty good. I couldn’t resist adding sweet potatoes and carrots for some natural sweetness. Enjoy!
1 medium large butternut squash
2 sweet potatoes
32 oz vegetable stock
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 cinnamon sticks
couple dashes of cinnamon
extra virgin olive oil
a dash or two of kosher salt
a dash or two of ground black pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
few sprigs of fresh sage
Coat an aluminum foil pan with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle some nutmeg, salt, and pepper into the ban. Toss in two small cinnamon sticks and a few sprigs of fresh sage. Cut squash in half or in fourths. Cut sweet potatoes in half. Cut carrots into large medallions. Lie squash seed side down into pan. Lie sweet potatoes flat side down and toss in carrots. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake (or grill in covered aluminum foil pan) squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots until done. You should be able to easily slide a toothpick or knife into squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots.
Remove skin, seeds, and pulp from cooked squash. Remove skin from sweet potatoes. Blend squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and vegetable stock until smooth and creamy. Poor into crock pot set on low heat. Add a dash or two of salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I also added about a teaspoon of brown sugar to add a little extra love and sweetness! Toss in the same cinnamon sticks you used to bake or grill the squash, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Stir. Let simmer for a few minutes. While this is simmering in the crock pot….
Throw your pumpkin seeds into a skillet on medium heat. Add 1/4 tsp of olive oil and 1//4 tsp of coconut oil. Stir in pan to allow oil to coat seeds. Add 1 tsp of brown sugar. Occasionally stir and seeds to brown. Turn off heat. Pour seeds in heat proof container and allow to sit for a minute or two.
Back to the crock pot! Give your soup one last stir and wah-lah! It’s ready! Serve in your favorite soup bowl and add a few roasted pumpkin seeds on top. Grab a spoon and enjoy!
Let me know what you think about the recipe!
“Pho is life, love and all things that matter.” (Pham, M., 1997)
One of my favorite foods to eat is a classic VIetnamese dish called, pho–pronounced “FUH.” Admittedly, I never knew pho existed until I moved to the West Coast and my culinary pallet was expanded and exposed to so many “new” foods. Well, foods new to me. What can I say? I missed out on a lot of tasty grub growing up. I fell victim to eating what was familiar, readily accessible, and affordable in my environment. Anyways, I digress. Back to pho.
Conceptually, pho is rather simple: broth, rice noodles, and meat. However, the preparation of pho is rather laborious–well, at least for a novice pho-maker like myself. I’ve been meaning to find a recipe AND purchase ingredients AND make pho for quite some time. Finally, I did it. I found a couple of recipes, consulted with my brother, roamed around the global food market looking for specialty ingredients, and blocked off half a day to make my first batch.
I credit my pho-making success to author and teacher, Andrea Nguyen, of Vietworldkitchen.com. I searched the internet and reviewed several pho recipes and hers seemed to be the most comprehensive, authentic, and detailed. I slightly deviated from her recipe, but overall remained true to her pho expertise. I specifically referenced her Chicken Pho Noodle Soup Recipe (yields 8 servings).
Below is what I did a little bit differently, but it still turned out EXCELLENT!
Instead of using a chunk of rock sugar, I substituted a tablespoon of regular white granulated sugar.
Instead of 4 whole cloves, I used 6 whole cloves.
I added Star Anise (a total of 40 star tips) to the broth spices.
Instead of boiling the chicken whole (on top of chicken parts), I pre-cut chicken into thigh/leg and breast quarters.
I added 1 additional tablespoon of fish sauce.
I didn’t use yellow onion or cilantro. Instead, I used fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, freshly squeezed lime juice, and jalepeños. I also added a little bit of Sriracha sauce and Hoisin sauce.
I encourage you to play around with optional garnishes. Have fun with it and enjoy!
Estimated (and Basic) Nutrition Facts: 8 total servings / 1 serving
(I only accounted for the chicken, noodles, and fish sauce)
Calories: 2750 / 343
Protein: 213 / 27
Carbohydrates: 360 / 45
Fat: 41 / 6
Sodium: 4275 / 535
After looking at the nutrition facts, I want to experiment with not using fish sauce, using significantly less, or finding a substitution that is not as high in sodium. Either that or drink 2 gallons of water after eating pho! Keep in mind I didn’t include the Sriracha and hoisin sauces (high in sodium) in this mini-nutritional breakdown. I also want to significantly reduce or eliminate sugar in the broth, especially if I use hoisin sauce in the bowls.
Still curious about pho? Here are a few websites dedicated to expanding the world’s knowledge about this tasty savory Vietnamese comfort food.
History of Pho Noodle Soup (The Viet World Kitchen)
The Origins of Pho (Pho Ever) <—I love the name of this website.
A Bowl of Pho: Vietnam’s Treasured Beef Noodle Soup That Brings Families Together (San Francisco Gate)
Pho! Vietnam’s Beautiful Legendary Soup (Food Origins TV)
I’m DEFINITELY doubling the recipe the next time I make it.