I learned about roasting lavender buds recently from the cookbook “Discover Cooking with Lavender”. I now have a jar packed with fragrant, earthy buds that I roasted last week. For the instructions for roasting, see Culinary Lavender Primer.
While roasting my lavender buds, the house was redolent with the most divine scent. I was eager to try the roasted lavender buds in a recipe and decided to pair it with butternut squash in a soup. It made sense to me, intuitively, that the soft flavor of lavender would work well with the sweet, rich taste of butternut squash.
Butternut squash is one of my favorite veggies to grow. It’s easy, it’s delicious and it lasts all winter when stored in a cool, dry place. We grew dozens of them and I still have about half a dozen squash left from last summer. The soup took about 10 minutes plus simmering time and I’m delighted with the result. I did not have any vegetable stock on hand, so this soup is light. The roasted lavender buds are the secret ingredient.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP with ROASTED LAVENDER BUDS
1 butternut squash
2 cloves garlic
a medium potato (I never peel potatoes)
2 TBSPs oil
2 TBSPs butter
2 TBSPs of roasted lavender buds
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp tarragon
2 tsps salt
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 cup half & half or cream (optional)
Cut off the top and bottom thinly from the butternut squash. Cut the squash in half cross-wise. Cut the bottom half in half and scoop out the seeds. Peel the squash with a good vegetable peeler. Cut squash and potato into chunks about and inch in size. Slice and dice the onion. Mince the garlic.
Heat a large soup pot over medium heat. Heat the oil then add the butter. Throw in the onion and garlic and saute till soft. Throw in the squash and potato chunks. Stir and saute a few minutes. Add the herbs, salt & pepper, stir and saute a few more minutes. Pour fresh water from a pitcher over the soup just until the veggies are covered. Bring to a boil. Put the lid on the pot, turn down the heat and simmer until the squash and potato are soft: about 10 or 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and immerse a blending wand into the hot soup. Blend until smooth. Taste to adjust seasoning. Add a cup of cream and stir. Heat gently. Do not bring to a full boil if cream is added.
I like a dollop of plain yogurt or creme fraiche in my soup.