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Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup

By Heidi Allison
Image of Instant Pot Butternut Soup with Whipped Feta Toast Points & Savory Garnishes
When you don’t have the energy or time to make traditional labor-intensive roasted butternut squash soup, this innovative recipe gets that iconic dish to the table in less than half the time using an Instant Pot pressure cooker. Paired with toast points, a savory whipped feta spread, and rustic-chopped olives on the side, this sophisticated meal comes together with minimal pots, pans and effort!

The difficult task of prepping butternut squash is two-fold: peeling the tight skin from the rigid flesh and cutting the rock-hard flesh into ½ inch cubes. If you slip using a peeler, mandolin or knife, which is easy to do, it’s a trip to the ER. In this recipe, that arduous task is made safer using this culinary hack; prick the skin of the butternut every 2 inches with a fork, then quickly microwave the veggie for 3 minutes before peeling. This initial cook time gently steams and lifts the tough skin off the flesh, so a veggie peelers’ blade re-moves it with minimal effort. Cutting cubes with a sharp knife is easier; knives will go into the tough squash with less pressure on your part, so there is less chance of slipping and getting hurt. The one caveat: do not exceed the recommended time in the microwave — you want to gently steam the skin, not cook the flesh. Let squash cool for 5 minutes, peel off the skin, and then cut the squash into cubes.

The whipped feta spread can be made several days in advance. If you like savory flavors, double the recipe and use it for other meals as well; smear it on toasted bagels, English muffins or gluten-free bread, then top with sliced organic heirloom tomatoes for a new go-to breakfast.

Pair this soup with crisp white wine and a variety of garnishes; store-bought crispy onion rings, rough- chopped salty black Kalamata olives, buttery, mild and sweet Castelvetrano or Cerignola green olives, and honey. These flavors complement the savory flavor profile of the finished dish.

Butternut Soup with Whipped Feta Toast Points & Savory Garnishes
Serves: 2 as a main; 4 as an appetizer
Image of Ingredients Butternut Soup with Whipped Feta Toast Points & Savory Garnishes
Soup Ingredients:

1 medium butternut squash, about 2 to 3 pounds
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1½ cups mild yellow onion, thinly sliced (can substitute Maui onion)
¼ cup shallot, thinly sliced (about 2 medium-sized)
½ cup organic orange carrots; peeled, thinly sliced (about 2 carrots)
6 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon honey
6 cups chicken stock (I recommend Butcher’s chicken bone broth)
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Bouquet garni:

Ingredients:
8 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 sage sprigs
1 tablespoon black peppercorns

Preparation:

Tie all spices in cheesecloth.

Whipped Feta Spread With Toast Points

Ingredients:

1½ cups of crumbled (Bulgarian or French) feta
8 oz. 4% fat cottage cheese
¾ cup labneh
⅛ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon zest; grated, divided
2 teaspoons honey

Preparation:
Image of labneh, feta, olive oil and lemon in blender
Place labneh, feta, cottage cheese, 3 tablespoons olive oil and ½ teaspoon lemon zest in a food processor or blender and process till smooth, scaling down the sides, for about 45 seconds. Place mixture into a serving bowl, creating a well in the center. Drizzle with remaining oil, black pepper and lemon zest.

Garnishes:

Honey
2 tablespoons kalamata olives, chopped
2 tablespoons Castelvetrano or Cerignola olives, chopped
Store-bought crispy onion rings
½ French banquette; cut into ½ inch slices, toasted

Soup Preparation:
Image of pieced butternut squash
Prick butternut squash with a fork every 2 inches and place in the microwave. Heat for 3 minutes, then remove and cool for several minutes.

Remove peel with a vegetable peeler and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and cut the neck from bulb; then cut the neck of the squash into ½-inch cubes; repeat with bulb halves and set aside on a plate.
Image of ingredients in Instapot
Add oil and butter to Instant Pot and set heat on sauté setting till melted. Add carrots, onions and shallots, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and sauté until veggies soften and onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add butternut squash and sauté 3 minutes more, stirring several times. Add chicken stock, bouquet garnet; close pot with lid and set on high for 7 minutes. Let steam release naturally.
Image of blender in instapot
Using an emersion blender placed directly into the pot, add cream and puree till the veggie mixture looks like soup. Alternatively, you can use a blender, working the soup in batches till pureed.

Ladle butternut soup into bowls and serve with toast points topped with whipped feta spread and garnishes.
Image of Instant Pot Butternut Soup with Whipped Feta Toast Points & Savory Garnishes
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