Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash soup is the ideal soup for autumn. Maybe it's that orange color or the sweet flavor. Maybe it's the knowledge of the approaching cold weather that makes us crave it. There's a lot about it that's so appealing. But the fact is that fall wouldn't be complete without enjoying a bowl of butternut squash soup at least a couple of times.
When it comes to cooking butternut squash soup, nothing could be easier, especially since it all gets pureed. But there's one technique I always do, and that's roasting the squash first. This ensures the flavor has depth and it also gets rid of that starchy flavor that you would get if you boiled it. Beyond that I almost always experiment when it comes to flavoring my butternut squash soup. This season I'm very much into Eastern spices, so I decided to create an Indian-inspired butternut squash soup.
To get these exotic flavors, I use cumin, black cumin, coriander, ginger, and smoked paprika. I utilize the Indian technique of preparing a tadka. This is when you infuse oil with spices by warming them all together in a skillet over heat. Normally this mixture would be stirred into the finished dish. But for this soup I decided to use it as a garnish, so I drizzle the tadka over the bowls of butternut squash soup. I think you'll really like this version as the warm, exotic spices are ideal for warming you up this fall.
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup2-1/2 to 3 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded (seeds reserved), and cubed
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
fine sea salt
1-1/2-inch piece ginger, minced
1 apple, peeled, cored, and cubed
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon black cumin seeds
1/2 cup cream
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cubed butternut squash in a single layer. Roast until the squash is soft and the edges are lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Clean the seeds and set them aside.
Meanwhile, warm a large pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a thin layer of oil. Add the onion and saute for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt to help the onions soften. Add the ginger and continue to saute for another 2 minutes. Add the apple and saute for another 2 minutes. Pour in the broth and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion and apple are soft, about 20 minutes.
Remove the squash from the oven and transfer to the pot. Return to a simmer, cooking for an additional 5 minutes.
Reduce oven heat to 300 degrees F.
In a small bowl combine the squash seeds, a large pinch of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika. Spread evenly onto the same baking sheet lined with parchment. Toast for 10 to 15 minutes until the seeds are a light brown and they've begun to pop rapidly like popcorn. Transfer to a plate.
Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Drizzle in about 3 tablespoons of oil. Add the ground cumin, ground coriander, whole coriander seeds, and the remaining smoked paprika. Toast the spices in the oil for about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat immediately and set aside.
Remove the pot of soup from the heat. Either puree in a blender in batches, or use an immersion blender. Add the cream at the final blending. Check the seasoning before serving. Serve the soup drizzled with the spice-infused oil and some additional cream. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.