The calendar says its September 24—a whole two days past the autumn equinox—but you would never know it by walking outside. Summer is showing up late here in the Bay area. The mercury peaked at 87 degrees in Mountain View today, with 97 predicted for tomorrow. Granted it could have been worse. D.C. topped the Weather Channel’s list of worst summers; looks like we barely dodged that bullet!

Even though I was breaking a sweat in cutoffs and a t-shirt this afternoon, and my cool weather wardrobe might stay unpacked for weeks more, some internal clock says it’s time to eat butternut squash. And soup. Better yet, paired together. So darn it, I made butternut squash soup for dinner tonight.

Prep work

This recipe is modified from Real Simple magazine’s Quick Soups, soups you can make in 35 minutes or less. My version, with its homemade chicken stock and cooked beans rather than canned, ends up slowing down every quick step of convenience, but I’m hoping it will taste better for it. If time is of the essence, check out the original recipe.

Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5 cups chicken stock

1 14.5 ounce canned diced tomatoes

1 small butternut squash, seeded, peeled, and diced into ½ inch pieces (4 cups)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Kosher salt and black pepper

2 to 3 cups cooked cannellini beans

1 bunch Swiss chard, destemmed and sliced (4 cups)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the squash, thyme, chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and Swiss chard and cook until the chard is wilted and the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve and top with a hearty grating of Parmesan and crusty bread.

Soup’s on!

Sept. 28: Quick update: This soup gets even better after it sits in the fridge for a day or two and the flavors meld. We added some leftover sausage from dinner the other night and it takes the recipe to a whole new level. Definitely recommend adding some chorizo, Italian sausage, or even bratwurst, which is what we had on hand.