Life as a military wife can be soul crushingly hard.
It can also be sweet and breezy, though!
The latter mostly happens during down times; post-deployment. When my Soldier and I sleep in together on a weekday. When he has time for coffee and a muffin on the front porch. When he pops in unexpectedly for lunch or comes home at three o’clock so we can go for a long walk in the woods. Just him, myself and the dog.
On days like that, I want “Groundhog Day” – the movie! I wish we could always be this carefree and bright; and of course, I wish it could be fall forever. I have a mad crush on all things autumn, in case you haven’t notice.
This past week was filled with beautiful days out in the fall sun, lots of laughter, home made apple cider and shenanigans!
The weather in the Carolinas has finally cleared up after over a week of torrential rains so we ventured out to Jordan Lake, just outside of Raleigh.
So, so beee-u-tiful! The water level was too high to hike around the lake but we had lots of fun just hanging out by the lakeshore; enjoying the warm fall temperatures and each others company.
It seems like everybody lurvs butternut squash soup. I know I do!
Here is the thing, though: Butternut Squash Soup tends to be insanely sweet.
I have even seen recipes with added sugar – insert Facebook thumb down!
So, I concocted a version that highlights the natural sweetness of butternut squash, I added a little bit of spice to it and above all something tangy! Capers. Man, I love capers. These odd little briny things could almost pass as seafood (don’t you think?) and add so much dimension, especially when sautéed.
If you already enjoy capers au natural, try sauteing them. I’m not kidding you. It’s the ultimate caper experience! A couple of minutes in the skillet will add some crunch and bring out the nutty flavors of capers.
As for the star spice of this fall flavored soup: Sometime last year, I woke up and decided I love cardamom. It basically happened over night. One day, I was totally indifferent towards cardamom, the next day, I couldn’t live without!
To me, cardamom is a fall spice (although in reality it is an everyday spice for many countries around the globe) and after some experimentation in the test kitchen, I decided I like cardamom best with pumpkins and in various cakes!
So, I am presenting you my vegan, grain free and gluten free “Fall in Love” (gettit??) Cardamom Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Sautéed Capers. Happy Fall, y’all!
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup onions, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 medium butternut squash (2.5lb or roughly 6 cups), peeled and diced
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of hot paprika
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or more, to taste
- 2 tablespoon capers
- ½ cup full fat coconut milk
- In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions until they are translucent; about 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for about one minute, then add butternut squash, cook and stir for about 4-5 minutes. Pour in broth, add cardamom, nutmeg, hot paprika and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes. Add salt to taste.
- In the meantime, add a little bit of cooking oil to a small skillet - just enough to cover the bottom of the pan and heat over medium-high heat. Carefully dry capers with a paper towel, then add to the skillet and sautée for 1-2 minutes while gently stirring with a spatula. Watch out for oil splattering!
- Transfer butternut squash soup to a blender or food processor (or use an immersion blender) and blend soup until it is smooth. Add soup back to your pot and stir in coconut milk. Top soup with capers and fresh herbs or balsamic glaze and enjoy!