Category Archives: Appetizer

What a Soup-er Idea: Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Soup

YES, the cheesy heading has returned. Sorry it’s so late, but after the few days off for Thanksgiving, and the multiple posts that I did that weekend, I got reeeealllly busy when I headed back to work.

This is a soup I kinda took inspiration from by watching a couple seasons of Top Chef and a few Food Network shows about 3 or 4 years ago…or somewhere around there. This was when I was first starting to learn how to cook. I’ve made it every Thanksgiving since then.

 It’s really a simple soup, with the basic soup ingredients such as celery, onion, carrot, and broth/stock. It’s a puree style soup, meaning it is thicker and creamier than regular soups that aren’t blended. A small touch of cream makes it slightly rich, but nothing overpowering. And since I usually make this at Thanksgiving, I put in some cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. Not enough to make this a liquid pumpkin pie, but enough to remind you of the season. Plus, those spices are amazing with the pumpkin/squash. And again, this is by memory. The ingredients below are approximate, besides the pumpkin and the squash. The rest can be played with a little.

 What You’ll Need:

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**Note**: Getting all of the ingredients that need to be chopped/sliced/cut/etc. done before starting to assemble the soup, aka mise en place, will save you time.

– 2 small Pie Pumpkins (usually available at the stores during the holiday season), or a one medium pumpkin (the kind you carve, lol)

– 2 small butternut squash

– 5-6 stalks of celery (about 2 cups chopped)

– 4 or 5 carrots (about 2 cups chopped)

– 3 small sweet onions, roughly cubed

– 4 or 5 cloves garlic, chopped

– 8 cups of chicken stock/broth (or vegetable, if you want to keep it vegetarian)

– 6-7 strips of thick cut bacon, cut into thin strips (optional if you want to keep it vegetarian)

– ½ tsp dried thyme, or a few springs of fresh thyme

– 1 tsp cinnamon powder (add in slowly, taste the soup, add more or less if you wish)

– ½ tsp all-spice powder

– ground or freshly grated nutmeg (add a small pinch or a few grates, and go light on this, otherwise it will be dessert)

– Heavy cream, about ¼ cup, or more or less, depending on how rich you want the soup

– Kosher salt

– Black Pepper

– Oil (canola or olive oil, avoid extra virgin for high temp cooking)

 The How-To:

 ***NOTE***: I prepared the pumpkin and squash differently this year, hoping to get it cooked more evenly and more quickly. This turned out to be a mistake because as I peeled and cubed the squash, especially the butternut, the sap of the skin or the starches in the vegetable coated my hand and caused a strange reaction. My hand appeared to dry out and looked like it was chapped, and my fingers went numb…like I couldn’t straighten them out. I searched for this reaction online immediately and found that others have had the same reaction.

If you are going to peel and cube the squash, wear some food prep gloves just in case. Otherwise, just cut both the pumpkins and the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast for a longer period until the flesh inside is tender.

The pictures will show the vegetables cut up and cubed, but I will put the recipe as I have done in the past to avoid the reaction in any of you.

Steps 1-7 can be done the night before and the pumpkin/squash cubes can be cooled and then stored in airtight containers in the fridge. Otherwise, start early before wanting to prep the soup so that the squash is ready to go.

1: Preheat an oven to 375 degrees

2: Cut the tops and bottoms off of the pumpkins and squash

3: Cut each pumpkin and squash in half, then scoop out the seeds using a spoon

4: Drizzle some canola or olive oil inside the squash and coat (try to avoid extra virgin here to avoid smoking in the oven)

5: Season the pumpkin and squash flesh with some kosher salt and black pepper

6: Roast in the oven on sheet trays with the rack just below the center for about an hour, (give or take depending on the tenderness), or at least until soft

7: Let cool for an hour or so, until room temperature, then either store in the fridge, or put aside to use in the soup (refrigerate if you aren’t going to use right away after cooling to avoid food safety issues)

8: In a large stock or soup pot, or even an enameled cast iron pot, add some canola or olive oil

9: (Optional step if using bacon) Heat over medium-low heat, then when the oil is ready, about 3-5 minutes, add the bacon and slowly render out the fat. You can leave the bacon in at this point, as I’ve done in the past, or this year, render until crisp, drain on a paper towel, and serve it as a crispy garnish to the soup

10: Turn the heat up to medium or medium-high. Add the onions, garlic, celery, and carrots to the bacon drippings (or if you’re really health conscious, drain the bacon drippings first, then add fresh canola or olive oil to coat the bottom of the pot)

11: Cook the vegetables until they start to become tender, and the onions begin to become translucent. Add the thyme at this point.

12: Add the roasted squash and stir, cook for a minute or two.

13: Add the broth, whichever you like, and stir the soup. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring. At this point, add the cinnamon, all-spice, and nutmeg. Season appropriately with salt and pepper as well.

14: Either blend the soup in the pot using an immersion blender (a hand blender), or in half-full blender carafes, blend in batches and transfer blended soup to another pot on a low burner.

***SAFETY NOTE***: Blending hot liquids or soups with a closed lid will create steam and could blow the top off of the blender, splattering the soup around. Take the pouring guard out of the blender top and cover with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.

15: Holding the top down and covering the opening, PULSE the soup a couple times, then start on low speed and work up. Puree for about 30 seconds, or until smooth. Repeat with the rest of the soup, transferring the blended soup to the other pot.

16: Add the cream to the pureed soup, and cook for about 15 more minutes. Season to your tastes (salt, pepper, spices, etc). If it is too thick, add more broth to thin out to your preference.

Serve as is, or add the bacon (or even some small toasted croutons) on top for some texture

Happy Belated Thanksgiving again, haha. Enjoy!

 – Anthony

Click below to see the pictures individually.

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Filed under Appetizer, Cooking, Dinner, Favorite Foods / Drinks, Recipes