I have several winter squash remaining in storage from my last few CSA shares, and the fall weather is perfect for soup, so I decided to make a pot of delicious winter squash soup for dinner last night. I’ve made winter squash soup many times before but I wanted to keep the seasonings simple, and I wanted it to have a creamy texture without adding heavy cream or butter. I referenced several recipes and found a good “foundation” recipe by Alice Waters in her Chez Panisse Vegetables cookbook.
The following recipe is my take on Winter Squash Soup and it turned out very tasty. The choice to use a more starchy deep orange Buttercup with a lighter, milder tasting Thelma Sanders led to a perfectly balanced soup both in taste and texture. This silky satisfying soup is perfect paired with hard cider and a side of toasted brioche with butter. To make this soup vegan, simply replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
Winter Squash Soup
- 2 whole winter squash (I used the green Buttercup and the beige Thelma Sanders), halved, seeds removed and cut in wedges
- Olive oil (2-3 tablespoons total)
- 1 medium to large onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 6-7 unsalted raw or roasted cashews (about a handful)
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 cup water
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. Place squash cubes on a parchment paper lined roasting pan and drizzle about 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil over the squash. Roast squash cubes, flesh side down, until completely tender, about 40 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
Heat the remaining olive oil in a heavy stockpot, add the onions, and saute over medium heat until the onions are slightly browned and softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, cashews and nutmeg and stir to warm spices.
Scoop out the squash flesh with a large spoon to remove the flesh from the skins. Add the flesh to the pot and stir. Discard skins. Add chicken stock plus a cup of water and stir using a potato masher to break up lumps of roasted flesh. Cover and simmer over medium low heat for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for about 2-3 minutes, to avoid transferring boiling hot soup to the blender.
Using a soup ladle, carefully transfer the mixture (in two batches) to a blender and puree for 60 seconds. Return the soup puree to the pot and heat slowly on medium heat. Taste for seasoning. I added about one teaspoon of sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper from a pepper mill. Serve hot with garnishes such as fresh, chopped parsley or micro greens. Add crunchy croutons if desired.