Squash soup is usually boring. There, I said it. But it doesn't have to be. For me, it is the endless garnish possibilities that get me excited about this autumnal favorite.
This Roasted Squash Soup recipe includes 3 of my favorite garnish combinations. They are a jumping point of course, and you can change them up whichever way you please. Get creative and think outside the box.
There are a dozen and half ways to make squash or pumpkin soup. My favorite way is to roast the squash in order to concentrate the flavor. I cut the quash (usually a Butternut, Robin's Koginut, Honeynut or a sweet pumpkin variety) down the middle and scoop the seeds out. The seeds can be roasted and used in other preparations. I roast the squash halves cut side down, at 375F (190C) for as long as it takes for them to soften completely and almost collapse. [You can also use this roasted squash in other recipes, like my Pumpkin Spice Sourdough Discard Scones]
If this sounds like too much work, you can buy frozen chunks of butternut squash and roast/boil to soften. The end result won't be as good as this recipe, but it'll do in a pinch.
After roasting and cooling, I then scoop out the soft flesh and place that in the blender. Add to that some stock, aromatics and other flavorings and we're halfway there.
In order to turn this soup from a simple side dish to a hearty meal, I like to load it up. My favorite flavor combination is pan-fried mushrooms, brown butter crispy sage and parmigiano reggiano. Brown butter, also known as beurre noisette, it is made by cooking unsalted butter down low and slow to turn the milk solids brown while cooking out any water content present in the butter. The end result is a nutty and toasty product that adds so much flavor to dishes. I like to crisp up sage leaves in brown butter. The combination of mushrooms, brown butter, sage and parmesan is perfection.
Another great combination of sweet/salty/crunchy/herby goodness is apples/bacon/croutons/dill. If you don't eat meat, you can skip the bacon altogether and you'll still have an amazing garnish.
Feeling a little spicy? Sambal, pepitas, cilantro and scallions is another combination that will level up your squash soup game.
Roasted Squash Soup with all the trimmings
- 1 Large Butternut, Koginut or other sweet squash or pumpkin
- 1 Onion, chopped roughly - Yellow or White
- 3 cloves Garlic, diced
- 2 tablespoon Ginger, diced
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Ground coriander
- 1 tsb Ground cumin
- 1 cup White wine - Optional
- 2-3 cups Stock - Chicken or Vegetable
- 3 tablespoon Butter
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Fried mushrooms
- Sage leaves fried in brown butter
- Parmigiano Reggiano shavings
- Crispy Bacon
- Diced apples
- Sambal or spicy chili oil
- Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- Cilantro leaves
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C)
- Carefully slice squash or pumpkin down the middle and scoop out seeds. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Poke a few holes in the squash so steam can escape. Roast for 30-45 minutes, depending on size. You'll know the squash is ready when it is soft to the touch and almost collapses on itself.
- While squash is roasting, in a frying pan, add olive oil and cook onion on low/medium heat. Add garlic and ginger. Continue to cook for a few minutes. You're looking for the onions and garlic to go translucent, not brown.
- Add cumin and coriander to frying pan and continue to cook for a few more minutes to release the flavor.
- Optional - Deglaze the pan with white wine. Continue to cook for a few more minutes so alcohol can burn off. Don't let all the wine evaporate. A little liquid should remain in the pan. Push the frying pan to the side and let it cool.
- After letting the squash cool slightly, scoop the soft and unctuous flesh and place it into a blender. Add the frying pan mixture to the blender, along with 2 cups of stock. Blend on high. If the soup is too thick, add more stock to desired consistency.
- Transfer soup to a clean pot, season with salt and pepper to taste. Add butter and bring to gentle simmer. Stir to melt butter. Soup is now ready.
Garnish and serve
- Ladle soup into serving bowls. Garnish with your favorite toppings. For inspiration, check out the attached blog post or take a look at the garnish combinations in the ingredients list.