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Butternut squash soup

I've only had it from the box before, and I found it bland and insipidly sweet. I find myself with lots of butternut squash h and would like to give it a go myself.

I see a few popular camps, with curry powder, ginger, or nutmeg as the primary seasoning. I'm much more inclined to savory flavors, so I'd prefer not to blend with apples or add brown sugar or what have you.

Anyways, what are your favorite recipes? I might try one each from the various schools of butternut squash soup thought and have a horizontal.

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  1. Kind of hard to say since the size of the squash varies, but first roast the squash.
    Then puree it with either the blender and a little chicken broth or put it in the pot and use an immersion blender and thin with chicken stock. I like it thickish. Not so that a spoon stands up but not runny. I add the stock and then add either cream or half and half. Nutmeg again, just a bit so you have a hint of it.. You can add cinammon also or even I have dropped star anise, and then pulled them out. I like to add sherry, about a Tablespoon or two. Cognac or Brandy works too. Garnish with roasted pepitas or creme fraiche. So good and so good for you too!

    7 Replies
    1. re: chef chicklet

      Thanks :) I have about 2 lbs of flesh in my first batch and more on the way.

      1. re: chef chicklet

        I also like to add caramelized onions to the puree...

        1. re: Emme

          Yes - I would never eat squash soup without generous amounts of onion and/or garlic or other allium.

          1. re: Emme

            Yup, definitely with the caramelized onions!

            1. re: Emme

              Another option is leeks- the epicurious 'curried squash soup with frizzled leeks' is a fall staple in our house. Simple, but comforting, and open to endless variations.

              1. re: Emme

                thanks, I always worried it might make the already sweet squash to sweet, I'd like to try the onions your way now. A whole onion? And would you cook the onion to point as if you''re making french onion soup?

                1. re: chef chicklet

                  I caramelize the onions yes, as if making french onion. You can puree them into the soup or just stir them in and leave them in tact. If you fear that you may find it too sweet, perhaps keeping them whole and retaining the "bite" will help maintain a little of the other "bite."

            2. If you search Marcia Adams old PBS show, Amish Cooking from Quilt Country, and her Curried Squash and Apple Soup, you will find her recipe for one of my favorites. It doesn't have brown sugar and I would say that it is more savory than sweet. Because I DO have a sweet tooth, I use cider, water, and chicken base in place of the chicken broth called for. I take the extra step of sauteeing the curry powder for a moment before mixing it into the squash and onion. I usually cut back on the fat by using half&half rather than cream.
              Once it is pureed, the color and taste are reminiscent of REALLY good yellow split pea soup.

              1. For a savory flavor profile, go with sage and white pepper, and skip the apples, sugar or pumpkin pie spice blends.

                1. Butternut squash is my all time favorite soup. I roast my onions & squash in the oven; meanwhile, I saute celery & carrots in a heavy bottomed soup pot. Add the veggies to a food processor then whisk into the pot with vegetable or chicken stock, a little cornstarch mixed with cream or half & half, a splash of cognac (optional), kosher salt, ground cumin and a dash of ancho chile powder (my personal preference). I like to garnish with oven crisp prosciutto or country ham crumbled over the top of each serving....

                  1. Don't go nuts on the seasonings.

                    I made this last week - it killed!

                    Butternut Squash Soup with Parmesan and Sage

                    •1 butternut squash, peeled, cut in half, seeded, and cubed
                    •2 carrots, sliced
                    •½ cup chopped onion
                    •2 tablespoons butter
                    •1 teaspoon salt
                    A bit of ground sage or mixed poultry seasoning (use your judgement, I used maybe 1/2 teaspoon)
                    •4 cups chicken stock
                    Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish (use liberally)

                    Place the squash, carrots, and onion in a saucepan. Add the butter and salt, cover, and cook over low heat until the vegetables start to soften, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock and sage, bring to a simmer, and cook, covered, until the vegetables are soft, about 30 minutes.

                    When the vegetables are soft, cool briefly, then puree them, along with the stock, in a blender. Return the puree to the saucepan and heat through. Serve with a liberal last-minute sprinkle of parmesan

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: wayne keyser

                      Yes, we're on the same page. Think about how much we love butternut squash-filled ravioli with fried sage leaves . . . turn those flavors into soup like this.

                      1. re: wayne keyser

                        This is very close to my favorite butternut squash soup, but I do it even more simply -- and I don't have exact measurements. I just adjust based on how much squash I have and how big they are! So this is a method more than a recipe:
                        Saute a chopped onion in a little butter, when it's translucent, add a couple chopped cloves of garlic,
                        When that is aromatic, add peeled and cubed squash, S&P, and several chopped fresh sage leaves. Then add water almost to cover the squash.
                        Simmer gently until the squash is completely tender. Use an immersion blender to blend until smooth, adding a little more water if necessary to thin it. Add a good amount of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust S&P. Top with more chopped fresh sage and grated cheese.

                        I like this with water (not broth) because the squash flavor comes through well and is not sweet. It's really squished, seasoned squash! The simple sage and parm flavors are wonderful -- this has been a hit with people who didn't think they liked squash.

                      2. Thanks everybody...while we're on the subject, what would you recommend for an off the shelf chicken stock? I rarely have the opportunity to make my own. I know that CI recommends Swanson's, but I find it at many others to impart an overwhelmingly chicken stock flavor to dishes where chicken flavor does not otherwise belong (ie butternut squash soup). The same thing seems to hold true for most veggie stocks. I wish there was just a water-umami mixture in a convenient aseptic package.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: blkery

                          I use Better Than Bouillon both for the convenience of hauling a small jar rather than multiple big cans or cartons and for the good flavor. You can always dilute it more, or do that to any other prepared broth/stock. But if you really don't want chicken flavor, just umami, use fish sauce or mushroom base and thin it to your taste.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            I made a delicious savory butternut squash soup last weekend. I sauteed 2 large leeks with chopped sage and a few carrots in butter. Added a chopped fennel bulb and sauteed ten minutes or so. I added 2 skinned Bartlett pears, about 6 cups of butternut squash and 5-6 cups of Swanson's chicken stock (you could use veg stock for a milder flavor) and simmered for about 30 minutes until soft. Let it cool to room a little and blend. Add salt and pepper and just enough half and half to give it some body, maybe 1/2 cup. As an optional garnish I reduced a cup of cider to half and mixed it into a cup of sour cream. It was very good.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              2nd the Better Than Bouillon...I have chicken, beef, vegetable, and seafood versions in my refrigerator at all times. Cheap and pretty good.

                              As for the soup, chef chicklet's basic instructions are good. I always make mine with chipotle peppers - just take a few out of a can and toss them in when you puree the squash. Thin out with stock and add a little swirl of cream...salt and pepper to taste. Top it with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and scallions.

                          2. I like the added flavor that comes from roasting the squash first. It's also easier to scoop the flesh from a roasted squash than to peel it. Then simmer it in chicken or vegetable stock to which you've added your preferred spices or other seasonings, puree with an immersion blender and voila!

                            You really can't go wrong with this soup. Oh, and kids seem to love it even more when you give them some Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal for a topping.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: CindyJ

                              Agreed - I always roast first because it's so much easier to scoop the roasted flesh (though it is sometimes hard to cut raw) and tastes so good.

                              Also, I like to do one variation where I roast garlic along with it to puree into the soup and add some sage. Yum. Our other favorite version also used roasted quash but is combined with grated fresh ginger and curry or whatever "warm" spices I have on hand; also pureed that with the immersion blender. I've found both freeze beautifully too, for what it's worth.

                            2. We love this version from Epi:
                              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                              As far as I'm concerned, the apples and the cider make the dish. However, last week I made an acorn squash and sausage soup that was also outstanding. Again, though, I used farmers' market apples and fresh cider. Makes a big difference to me.

                              1. My fave is from Betty Crocker (!) Southwest Cooking - and no, there is no Bisquick in it. The flavors come from pears and fresh thyme. A bit of sweet from the pears but really savory overall from the thyme. And also with roasted pecans. I think I've just talked myself into making it again this weekend.

                                1. This is the best restaurant version I've had, and I just made it this weekend with great results.

                                  http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media...

                                  1. i use my dutch oven to roast the ing., then finish on the stove top.
                                    2 T. olive oil
                                    1 large onion chopped
                                    1 lb chopped butternut ( I buy the precut from Trader Joe's)
                                    3 large carrots cleaned and chopped
                                    1/2 tsp sugar
                                    1 tsp paprika
                                    1-1/2 tsp cumin
                                    3/4 tsp tumeric
                                    3/4 tsp coriander

                                    mix above in pot and roast in oven until tender

                                    on stove top add in 6 cups veg stock

                                    simmer 40 min.
                                    use emulsion blender to blend or let cool and do in batches in a blender

                                    add 1/3 C. chopped fresh cilantro
                                    1T lime juice

                                    garnish with a yogurt sauce

                                    1/2 C yogurt with S and P, thin with a little water to drizzle on top of soup

                                    1. This thread is a treasure trove of ideas, and I'll adapt some of them to a pumpkin soup. The best squash soup I ever had was at Annabelle's in Ketchikan, and I couldn't even get a hint from them as to what made theirs so good. But my guess at the time was that they used a veal stock and possibly some pureed roasted red bell pepper--very little as the effect was subtle. Maybe the pepper was in the stock. Be that as it may, I've sometimes made butternut squash soup with a bit of roasted red bell pepper. Onions and garlic, of course. I rarely add cream, though finishing it with yogurt adds an interesting tang. As for seasoning, salt and freshly ground pepper is generally all I go with.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Father Kitchen

                                        I find that peeling and cuding the squash first, then roasting in over gives a lot more depth and complexity to the flavour of the squash......the more surface area available for carmelization, the better!!!

                                      2. I like to start w a large onion sweated, squash: sometimes roasted if I've got the whole squash . . . or if it's cubed up at my greengrocer's I don't bother ... a large container (1 litre/3-4 cups) of good chicken stock (frozen, from across the street from the grngrocer - lol) . . . and whatever herb I'm in the mood for. Sage is nice. As are rosemary or thyme. A dash of truffle salt if you have it.

                                        But the main thing for me is, after pureeing it (blender gives the finest puree), I push it thru' a sieve. Not sure why everyone makes such a big deal of this. I've endured eye-rolling and accusations of affectation. You have to puree in batches anyway; hence you have to pour it into another vessel . . . simply pouring it thru' the fine-meshed sieve makes it so silky you won't even be tempted to add cream. Which isn't to say I don't like more texture too but for squash or carrot soups sieved rocks.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cinnamon girl

                                          YES!!!! Any soup I make goes through a sieve.....I picked up a chinois specifically for this....IF I want chunks, I will blanch a second batch of veggies separately and add them to the soup. The silkiness that the chinois gives a soup like butternut quash is amazing.....

                                          1. re: RodVito

                                            Hooray! A kindred spirit!!! I'm so happy to make your acquaintance RV. I've used your trick too - adding a second batch of veg that is, b/c the base you get from sieving is so luxurious.

                                            Question: is the chinois worth the investment and space then? What is the difference between it and a regular sieve in the texture you get?

                                            Oh - and do you find too that enriching with cream or butter is completely superfluous after sieving?

                                        2. I start by sauteing onions, celery, carrots, garlic and ginger. When the veggies are soft, I add the pureed squash, chicken stock and water. To season; lots of cumin, coriander seed, paprika, a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cloves, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice. I might add a little bit of heavy cream at the end, but often I leave the cream out, giving a more intense flavour.

                                          1. I use bacon (use the fat to sweat the onion, carrot and celery), sage and shallot. Be sure to remove the lardon after you've cooked then and use as a garnish. You can also use frizzled prosciutto and or sage as garnish. I use a little bit of nutmeg and lots of black pepper. Sometimes I add apples and parsnips which give a lovely sweetness to the soup but do not create that awful candy flavor you find in a lot of butternut squash soup recipes.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Kater

                                              Bacon is delicious in squash soup. This was was pretty much my go-to soup last summer w/o the apple. A little apple in lentil soup is nice too, believe it or not. And a dash of horseradish.

                                            2. My absolute favorite butternut squash soup recipe is from Cooking Light: Golden Winter Soup. http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                                              It includes a potato, leeks and chicken broth and it's hearty, earthy and delicious.

                                              1. Butternut squash is my favorite winter soup too! I have some in the fridge right now, and I've even converted my hubby to actually eating SQUASH! Here is my simple take on a great soup.

                                                4 lbs of squash
                                                6 slices bacon,chopped
                                                1 onion, chopped
                                                1 garlic clove, minced
                                                2 apples, peeled, cored, chopped
                                                48 oz. can chicken stock
                                                32 oz container chicken stock
                                                salt & pepper
                                                heavy cream

                                                Cut the squash in half, and clean out seeds. Place on sheet pan, and coat liberally with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast in oven at 350 degrees for an hour, or until the knife inserts easily into the thickest part of the squash. Remove and let cool. (Often I do this one night, then put it in the fridge until I have time to finish the soup.)

                                                Peel the skin from the cooled squash. Chop into pieces. In stock pot, add your starter bacon grease, then add the chopped bacon. Cook over medium heat until almost crisp, then add onion. Cook until onion is soft. Add minced garlic, and cook until fragrant (less than a minute.) Add chicken stock, apples and squash. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for a few hours with the lid on. (I typically cook mine in the evening, until I go to bed.) Use the immersion blender and puree the soup. Add salt and pepper to taste. If the soup isn't thick enough, I just boil it down to the right consistency. I make mine a little thick, because once it's hot, I add a little heavy cream. Then I serve it. Yum!!

                                                I'm having soup and salad for dinner, and I'm making myself seriously hungry reading everyone's variations, and thinking about my soup on this rainy, cold Wednesday!

                                                1. I'm with you -- the sweet or Indian-style variations on the soup sort of leave me cold. I prefer a savory, herb-y version. I made up my own recipe, which is super easy and which my boyfriend, who usually prefers junk to anything remotely subtle or nutritious, adores.

                                                  1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1"-ish chunks
                                                  1 Tbsp. or so of olive oil.
                                                  1-2 Tbsp. butter
                                                  1 onion, diced
                                                  1 shallot, finely chopped
                                                  2 garlic cloves, minced
                                                  1 sprig's worth of fresh rosemary leaves (I'm thinking a 3" sprig or so), finely chopped
                                                  4 c. chicken or veggie stock
                                                  dash Worcestershire sauce
                                                  1/4 c. heavy cream (more if you want)
                                                  salt and pepper
                                                  sprigs of thyme, for garnish
                                                  croutons, for garnish

                                                  Preheat oven to 400 and lightly grease the bottom of a roasting pan with olive oil.

                                                  Toss the squash chunks in olive oil and roast them in the oven until they're good and roasted. This usually takes me 45 minutes or so. Set aside whenever they're done.

                                                  Heat the butter in a large pot, add the onion and cook until soft. Add the shallot, garlic and rosemary and add until the whole thing's golden. Add the squash chunks and cook for just a minute or so, stirring the whole mixture together. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

                                                  After the soup is boiling, remove it from the heat and dump it in the blender. (It should fit in a single batch.) Puree it and then return it to the stove and turn the burner back on. (Obviously, if you have an immersion blender, puree it in the pot instead.)

                                                  To the reheating pureed soup, add the dash of Worcestershire sauce and the cream, and season it with salt and pepper. Mix well and, once sufficiently reheated, serve with sprigs of thyme and croutons or crusty bread as garnish.

                                                  A few tips: If you roast the squash beforehand and keep it in the fridge (or freezer, I guess) as I do, this soup is super easy and quick to make -- and all it dirties are a single pot, the blender and a ladle. You can also forego the shallot and/or garlic if you don't have 'em around, and I've made it before with only one of the herbs. The cream is optional, too -- maybe taste the soup before you add it, since the soup can be awfully creamy on its own -- but the Worcestershire and herb flavors really make it.

                                                  1. This recipe, based on the Curried Butternut Squash Soup from the original Silver Palate cookbook, is my go-to recipe every fall:

                                                    http://www.foodista.com/blog/2008/12/...

                                                    1. Paul Prudhomme has a fabulous butternut squash soup recipe in his Seasoned America book, but I could not find it online. If you can find the book in a store or the library (it's at least 15 years old so it might be out of print) you absolutely have to try it. It has a depth of flavor that I have not found in other squash soups.

                                                      Note: It is NOT the healthy recipe that requires his seasoning mixes.

                                                      1. I hate really sweet anything. I do both sweet and savory togegther. I use onions and apples and chicken broth and curry powder and a bit of brown sugar. And I keep tasting to be sure I keep it in between the two.

                                                        1. I know it sounds weird, but butternut squash soup with peanut butter is really good. Use the squash, onions and/or leeks, celery, garlic, chicken broth, about a cup of smooth peanut butter, and whatever other seasonings float your boat.

                                                          For actual recipes google either "butternut squash peanut butter soup" or "pumpkin peanut butter soup."

                                                          1. I'm also a fan of the savory - my favorite recipe is from Alfred Portale's 12 Seasons Cookbook. It's very similar to everybodyever's recipe, except there's no onion or cream, and it uses thyme and bay leaf instead of rosemary. Portale's recipe calls for deeply caramelizing the squash in butter in a skillet, and adding them to the sweated shallots, garlic, thyme, and bay leaf in the soup pot. I prefer water or ham broth to chicken stock - I've found that chicken stock tends to dominate the flavor too much. The flavors are deep enough to sing on their own when the soup is made with water, but my favorite version is the one with ham broth - it lends a subtle structure, without being as obvious as bacon.

                                                            In the last batch I made, a fair amount of squash stuck to the skillet I was browning them in, so I deglazed it with ham broth and added the whole mess to the soup. I don't know if it's the ham broth, or the extra caramelized bits, but it was definitely the best version I've ever made.

                                                            I like to add a bit of good red wine vinegar at the end - it really helps round out the flavor, tempers excess sweetness, and seems to bring out some of the background components into sharper relief. Sage leaves fried in butter have always been my favorite topping, but my current favorite is pumpkinseed oil and toasted crushed chili flakes.