This is one of our favorite winter recipes and an awesome soup that can be served as a starter, or as an entire meal topped with a bunch of extras like the toasted seeds from the squash itself, crispy bacon bits, croutons, goat cheese, dried cranberries, a little orange zest…or whatever you think works. Roasting the squash adds an extra nutty flavor and richness to the finished soup and we always make up a big batch and freeze the leftovers.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup (makes about 12 servings)

Ingredients 

  • 2 large butternut squash – halved with seeds scooped out and reserved for roasting*
  • 1/4 stick of butter – to saute vegetables
  • 1 large onion – finely chopped
  • 3 carrots – peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 oz. fresh ginger – peeled and minced
  • 2 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 orange – zested and juiced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper – more if  you like it spicy
  • Ground nutmeg – optional
  • 2 – 32 oz. boxes or cans of chicken stock – use homemade if you have it
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • Salt and ground pepper

    Roast butternut squash skin side down.  Saute vegetables and apple while roasted squash is cooling.

    Roast butternut squash skin side down. Saute vegetables and apple while roasted squash is cooling.

Directions

  1. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and guts with a spoon.  Be very careful when halving the squash…be sure you use a long, sharp, and sturdy knife and cut on a stable cutting board.   Reserve seeds for roasting.
  2. In a preheated 375 degree oven, roast squash skin-side-down for 25 minutes until they become soft to the touch.
  3. While squash is cooling, heat large stock pot or dutch oven  medium-high heat and saute chopped onion, carrot, garlic, ginger, apple in melted butter.  Saute until onions begin to soften but be careful not to brown….about 10 minutes, stiffing frequently
  4. Scoop out butternut squash meat from skin and combine with vegetable mix.  Add cayenne pepper, nutmeg, orange zest and juice, salt and pepper and chicken broth and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.
  6. Use a handheld immersion blender or standard blender to puree until smooth.  If using a standard blender, puree in 2-3 batches and be sure to allow heat to escape to prevent splattering.  Cover top hole with a dishcloth.  Return to low heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes to allow flavors to meld fully.
  7. Turn off heat and stir in cream to finish.  Re-season with salt and pepper as needed.
  8. Serve in a large soup bowl topped with your extras…. we like roasted squash seeds,  crispy bacon bits and croutons for crunch, goat cheese, a squeeze of fresh orange juice and dried cranberries for tang, plus a drizzle of olive oil, chopped parsley, and a dusting of cayenne for an extra kick.
    Assistant soup maker William using an immersion blend to puree the soup into a perfectly smooth and silky consistency.

    Assistant soup maker William using an immersion blender to puree the soup into a perfectly smooth and silky consistency.

    The finished soup with a little bit of cream stirred in for extra richness.

    The finished soup with a little bit of cream stirred in for extra richness.

Toasted Squash Seeds:  These are even better than pumpkin seeds and a perfect crunchy topping for this soup.  Scoop seeds from the squash and remove all the stringy pieces that may be attached….they come out surprisingly clean.  Line a baking sheet with foil and roast seeds in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes until slightly browned and crispy.  Season with salt and sprinkle on soup or eat as a great crispy snack.

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A nice haul of squash seeds ready for toasting.

 

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