It’s always a little sad to say goodbye to summer—I love the no school part and the beach and the long sunny days and the ice cream but then along comes a gorgeous bowl of Fall and I’m like, “Summer, who needs it?!! Bring on the new season!” Especially when its soup. If you’ve been with me on the site for a while, you will likely remember a fair share of posts that wax poetic on the merits of soup like this or excuse away the embarrassment of eating soup in the summer, like this. Yup, we are soup loving crew around here and I’m delighted to introduce another destined-to-be- long-term-member-of-the-family—this wonderful Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pepitas. Yay Fall!!
I love, love, love butternut squash, really in any form, but especially when it’s the base for a soup. For years, I’ve been making my mom’s creamy but creamless version and I know I will be making it many times for years to come, but it’s fun to have this new zingy version too!
The hardest part of putting this together is cutting through the squash rind. Please, I beg you, get yourself at least one really good knife—it’s totally worth the investment—you will very likely save yourself a trip to the ER, if you know what I mean! I used to almost chop off a hand trying to cut through one of these babies, but ever since my mom treated us to a great set of knives, it’s a breeze!
Unlike my other favorite squash soup, this version roasts the squash first, which I think is part of why it has such deep flavor. While the squash is roasting you throw the rest of the soup together, adding in a minced up chipotle chile for that added kick and eventually scooping out the cooked squash (it’ll be as soft as buttah, I tell you) and adding it to the mix. Once everything has melded together, you use an immersion blender (if you don’t already have one, read this and put it on your wish list—my, I’m full of advice today!) or a food processor to blend everything into a rich, gorgeous, creamy (but there’s not a lick of cream here) amazing soup experience!!
Every bite is smooth and intensely flavorful and the toasted pepitas (you know what those are right? Pumpkin seeds) add just the perfect amount of earthy crunchiness.
Here’s to a terrific start of Soup Season!!
Spicy Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pepitas
Makes at least 8 servings
You will need an immersion blender, food processor or blender for this.
Prep Time: About 1 hour to roast squash and another for soup to cook
1 large butternut squash (about 2 1/2 pounds), halved and seeded
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped into smallish pieces
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped (use 2 if you really want a lot of spice)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place the squash cut side down on a large rimmed baking sheet or dish and pour the water and 1 tablespoon of the oil over it. Roast for about 45-50 minutes, until squash is fork tender.
2. While squash is roasting, melt the butter and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot, over medium heat. Add the onion, turn the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft and light brown, stirring every now and then. Add in the carrots and pepper and cook for another 15 minutes or so, until the carrots are tender. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Add the broth, chiles, salt and pepper and bring to a low boil over medium-high heat. Scoop out the cooked squash and add it to the pot, discarding the skin. Lower the heat and let the soup simmer for about 30 minutes.
4. While the soup is cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds in a small heavy pan over medium-high heat. Shake and stir the pan often because they can go from browned to burned very quickly. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl so they stop cooking.
5. When soup is done, carefully use the immersion blender to puree the the soup until it is smooth and creamy. If you don’t have an immersion blender, let the soup cool a bit and carefully blend in batches in a food processor or blender. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with a handful of the pepitas.
Note: Recipe adapted from Fresh Every Day by Sara Foster. I left out the fresh rosemary and tinkered with the amounts of some of the other ingredients.