Plated + Served: Souper Stars


Soups remind me of actors.

Some are hot (Jon Hamm) and others cold (January Jones). Some are thin (Kiera Knightly) and some are more full bodied (James Gandolfini). Some are spicy (Sofía Vergara) and others subtle (Michael Shannon).

Jon Hamm

One thing they’re not? Boring. Ever.

Just like an actor hopes to be, soups are extremely versatile. A hearty soup can be the main course, with side dishes rounding out the meal. Soup and salad or soup and a sandwich are a staple of American lunches. Clear, thin soups can start a meal and a sweet fruity soup makes a fun dessert.

GP loves soups, so we eat a lot of them. In the summer, it’s cold Gazpacho or Cucumber soup. In the winter its hot creamy winter vegetable soups (although I’ve found that many soups can be eaten hot or cold). I usually make a huge batch because the flavors get more intense after a day or two.

Soups are so simple to prepare and even easier to master because the ingredients don’t have to be precise. But for some reason, many of you are intimidated to make them. I don’t know if you think it will take hours to prepare (some do) or that it won’t all get eaten (freeze the leftovers for later in the month). Usually the most difficult part is the process of peeling or chopping the ingredients!

That’s the case with this wonderful soup made with Butternut Squash… a winter squash with a smooth, thick skin and a long-shelf life. Unless you have a really, really good peeler (or a paring knife), your best bet is to use a cleaver or very large knife and split the squash in half. Scoop out the seeds (save them if you want to roast them). Cut the squash into chunks and cut off the skin and you are good to go.

After peeling, this sweet and creamy soup will take a little more than half an hour. If you have more time, let it simmer partially covered, so the flavors can develop. Season the soup right before it’s done because, depending on the stock you use, it may or may not need salt.

So come on…it’s not that hard and there’s no reason to be scared. A good actor can pull off anything!



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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: