Monday, October 20, 2008

butternut squash soup.


It's here! You asked for it! My very simple butternut squash soup recipe. If you're like me, and your first, mildly traumatic experiences with butternut squash soup involved the cartons of pre-made, overly sweet crap you can buy at places like Trader Joe's (not hatin' though, I still love TJ's.) you might not like the idea of butternut squash soup. I know I never did.

The other day at work, a man who comes in often with his preteen son (who is an adorable, stern young man, who always says please and thank you) thanked me for the hot chocolates I made for them, and said, "You have a secret ingredient, don't you?" I acknowledged that we put a little something extra in, and he quickly stopped me and said, "Don't tell me! I don't want to know." (It's just vanilla, dude!) The idea of a "secret ingredient" is kind of silly to me, but I understand the appeal. Something subtle that people notice, but not overwhelming enough that it's all you taste. So what's the secret ingredient here?


Nothing fancy. Just roasted poblano peppers. Don't let me take all the credit, though- this recipe is all Jason. (Of course.) It adds a smoky, spicy finish to a sweet, rich soup. The preparation is simple, but it can quickly become overwhelmingly messy, so keep tabs on your kitchen or else you'll end up with a disaster like I did tonight, ha!

This is sort of a 'to-taste' recipe- like most of our soup recipes, but I'll try to be as exact as possible. For this batch, here's what I did:

2 butternut squashes
1 poblano pepper (you can adjust the spice level by adding more or less roasted pepper, but generally speaking, poblanos are rather mild.)
1/2 a white onion
1 small white shallot
1 whole head of garlic
3 very skinny carrots (or one or two larger ones)
3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock. (In this case I used a vegetable stock that I made before our vacation using a large number of carrots, hoping the carrots would add to the sweetness of the soup. I think I was right.)

Preheat your oven to 375ºf.

Slice squashes lengthwise, so you can scoop out the seeds. You can cut them down a little more if you'd like, to fit on your pans and maybe cook a little faster. Drizzle with olive oil, salt lightly, and place on a baking sheet in the oven.
You know what? Do i need to describe the whole process? Everything gets drizzled in olive oil and roasted at the same time in the oven. I wrap the onions, shallot, and garlic individually in tinfoil, and leave the seeded, halved pepper on a baking sheet, along with the carrots. Keep an eye on the pepper and remove when it becomes blistery and begins to blacken.

Just peek in on everything every once in awhile and make sure nothing's burning. Pull things out as they finish (The peppers will finish first, then the carrots, then the shallot probably, then the garlic, then onion, then butternuts, probably.) Just keep poking everything until it's mushy. Let everything cool so you can handle it easily, and heat up your stock while you wait.

Bust out your blender or food processor, and put a large pot aside for the finished soup. Begin blending the ingredients (duh, don't forget to peel your butternut) in steps, adding warm stock as needed to get it smooth. Dump it all in the big pot and stir it up really well, adding more stock if necessary to thin to desired consistency. Put over heat if necessary- letting all the ingredients cool can leave you with a lukewarm soup. Serves 3-4.


Last night I happened to carve a pumpkin and I cleaned and toasted the seeds. I tossed a handful on my dinner salad and garnished my soup with them, too. All I did was wash them, let them dry overnight on a brown paper bag, and then coat them with olive oil & salt, and then toasted them for 10-15 minutes at 375º.


I can't help it, guys. It's fall! It rained half the day today, and then it got a little bit sunny. I went jogging this morning in the rain and I saw the sun painting the leaves of the trees bright gold, contrasted against a grey sky with a RAINBOW IN IT. It's beautiful out here! I'm going to drink some chamomile tea, and tomorrow afternoon I'm going to heat up the rest of my soup and eat it with a grilled cheese sandwich.


VeggieGirl said...


Karencilla said...

Oh my! i love squash, specially the butternut ones. I'm glad I can find them here in Panama. I didn't know you can toast and eat the seeds! Besides, adding it to the soup and salad, what else can it go with?

Alicia Carrier said...

no no, the seeds are pumpkin seeds. did you read the part about me carving a pumpkin?


thats a neat idea.. on salads. I just ended up eating MOST of them.. then my lips felt funny cause I had salted them..

Jessica said...

Butternut squash soup is my absolute favorite autumn meal...I'll have to try your recipe out!

Karencilla said...

Oh my! how silly I am!!! I read that part so fast that i didn't notice!... oh pumpkin! so, i toast them and I can eat them?

Alicia Carrier said...

karencilla- yes, it's pretty straightforward. basically you just rinse the seeds well after removing them from the pumpkin, and allow them to dry overnight, then toast them in the oven.

denise said...

Oh, yum! We grew a BUNCH of butternut squash in our garden this favorite squash.

C Sanger said...

Crazy, I actually just tried a butternut squash soup looking for similar results and i used two Serrano chilies and a slice of bacon... yum.

kickpleat said...

nice secret. i'll definitely give this a try!

Andres said...

Hi, great and tasty recipe. Try put the toasted pumpkin's seeds in a blender until they became granular (like salt), pour over the soup. You´ll like it. Greetings from Venezuela.
P.S.; It also works with Arepas, like my Grandma use to make them. =)

pve design said...

oh, what goodness lives here.
eating seasonally gives me hope.
love good food.

Michelle said...

ha! you just reminded me I have seeds from a pumpkin in my fridge that I've been meaning to do something with...I guess I wasn't sure how!

nytesong said...

Surely the deity of all bloggy goodness must be loving me today.

I have two butternut squashes from my last CSA box sitting on my counter top accusing me of not using them. As a new friend to vegetables other than corn-peas-iceberg-green beans (sadly, childhood food diversity was lacking for me)I've never had butternut squash---wait...I think once it was in some raviolis.

Anyways, I thought--could you do a soup with them. Then I put it out of my mind in favor of a new bread recipe I am trying today.

Then--your blog--I see it for the first time today. And there it is. The very recipe I was hoping to obtain.

Thank you! I'm only lacking one of the ingredients and I shall pick it up in my travels today and our family shall all have soup tonight. =)

John said...

i just came accross your blog by accident (looking for butternut squash soup recipes, of course), and now i probably ran out of time to make soup due to reading the past few months of entries...

great writing, great photos, great food.

everything good in life is delicious. keep it up

eatincalgary said...

just came across the blog, and it so happens i made a squash soup the other day. what annoys me is that you waste so much time baking the squash - so i tried just boiling raw squash cubes with tomatoes (of course, onion, garlic, spices)... it actually works! also a bit of ginger & cumin spices it up!

Anne said...

Dude! You guys made the front page of right now. Congrats!

B said...

I love your site. Im not really a cook.. the photography is amazing!


Kristina said...

The soup sounds great. I toasted pumpkin seeds last week with salt and Chinese five spice powder... winner!

Rachel said...

I think I came across your blog via the kitchn. I was entranced! I read the entire thing right to the start. Very inspiring and I was surprised to see you mention dalas verdugo, as his wife is one of my best friends! Please keep blogging, I'm totally inspired :)

Karencilla said...

THanks ALicia I'll try it next time!

c said...

YUM! my favorite soup!!! i'm going to get on this asap

c said...

also i kind of like it when you DO explain everything, because that leaves less room for doubt or error on my end :)

Lindsay said...

Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall flavors, but how on earth did you get your those halves to look so perfectly sliced and scooped? Do you have a good knife that you could recommend?

alyson. said...

wow, how did I miss your blog before? this soup sounds amazing. I just bought two butternut squashes from Sauvie Island today, guess what I'll be making!! :)

Knick Knock said...

I heart your blog and always mean to comment but don't quite get round to it...however I read this the other day and it made me remember an autumn favourite of mine which I thought you might like. It's actually a Jamie Oliver recipe and I don't think I've ever followed it to the letter - just the essence of it ie. rub spices on squash and roast..see what you think.
Serves 6
1 medium/large butternut or onion squash (1-1.5kg)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 mall dried red chillies
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil.
Wash the squash.
Deseed and cut into approximately 2.5cm/1inch thick boatshaped wedges.
Bash together all the herbs and spices with a petle and mortar - then add garlic and give it a bit more wellie. Add your spice mix, squash and oil into a boll and mix it well to coat each piece.
Place the squash skin side down on a baking tray and roast in the oven 200C/400F/gas6 for 30 mins (so he says but mine always take a bit longer.) The squash will crisp slightly and the skin will become caramelized and chewy. YUMBO

Soon, Then said...

Hey there! I made this last night, and it was totally, seriously delicious. I freaked out about the butternut peeling and how long it would take to roast, so I went ahead and cut all the peel off and cut the squash into chunks for roasting. I omitted the carrots, simply because I didn't have any, and ended up using two bouillon cubes with 2 cups of water in place of some of the stock (dang I need to go shopping). We had a baguette with the whole thing and it was SO delicious! A definite keeper of a recipe. And, I even have some squash left for your curry recipe! Thanks for this great blog. I am so inspired!

sara3e said...

THANK YOU and how clever- roast everything, blend in batches with stock, pour into pot to simmer. GENIUS. I don't have an immersion blender, and good lord is it messy to blend in batches and try to return to the original pot! Usually I an so frustrated and hungry by the end of process that I give up and leave it "rustic" (chunky, lazy) and call it a night! I wish I had known this all along, you have just made my favorite soup way easier to make!

Ace said...

i realize i'm getting this post rather late, but i just found an awesome butternut squash soup that has you roast fresh slivers of ginger wtih the squash and then puree it all with veggie or chicken stock. voila, a soup! the ginger adds this awesome kick.