Winter Squash Soup

February 11, 2007 at 8:15 am (Cook's Illustrated, Isa C. Moskowitz, soup, Starches, unrated)


Every cookbook in the world seems to have a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup. They often call for adding fruit like apples or pears, or for sweet seasonings like nutmeg or ginger. Others are very simple and just call for the squash alone. I’m guessing that over time this post is going to get very long. Feel free to send me your favorite recipe for squash soup!

Cook’s Illustrated Best Light Recipe Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

I’ll post the recipe once I get a library card in Chicago and can check the book out again.

My Notes:

As I reported in the thread on roasting butternut squash, I didn’t like these instructions much. The onion burnt at the tips, and the squash burnt a bit too. The resulting puree was very thick, and with a very dark, vegetable-y flavor, rather than the sweet, bright flavor I was expecting. I’m guessing the onion added the unpleasant vegetable flavor, and the burnt bits made it taste so dark. I added the half and half, and it did improve the flavor a bit, but I still didn’t like it that much. So I added 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg, and then it tasted like nutmeg, which was an improvement, but still not great. So I added 1/8 tsp. cardamom and 1/8 tsp ginger. It was okay, but I don’t think I’d make it again when there are so many better butternut squash soup recipes out there.

Cook’s Illustrated Magazine Silky Butternut Squash Soup

For this recipe Cook’s Illustrated found that steaming the squash resulted in the best flavor and texture. Adding the squash scrapings and seeds to the steaming water made the soup even more flavorful. Some nice garnishes for the soup are freshly grated nutmeg, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, or a sprinkle of paprika.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts, serving 4 to 6

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 medium shallots , minced (about 4 tablespoons)
3 pounds butternut squash (about 1 large), unpeeled, squash halved lengthwise, seeds and stringy fibers scraped with spoon and reserved (about 1/4 cup), and each half cut into quarters
  Table salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
 
 

1. Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium-low heat until foaming; add shallots and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add squash scrapings and seeds and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and butter turns saffron color, about 4 minutes. Add 6 cups water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to Dutch oven and bring to boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-low, place squash cut-side down in steamer basket, and lower basket into pot. Cover and steam until squash is completely tender, about 30 minutes. Off heat, use tongs to transfer squash to rimmed baking sheet; reserve steaming liquid. When cool enough to handle, use large spoon to scrape flesh from skin into medium bowl; discard skin.2. Pour reserved steaming liquid through mesh strainer into second bowl; discard solids in strainer. Rinse and dry Dutch oven.

3. In blender, puree squash and reserved liquid in batches, pulsing on low until smooth. Transfer puree to Dutch oven; stir in cream and brown sugar and heat over medium-low heat until hot. Add salt to taste; serve immediately.

My Notes:

I made this recipe quite a long time ago, but I remember it being perfect. It tasted just like the “porridge” they serve at Hangawi, an upscale Korean restaurant in NYC. Steaming the squash resulted in a much brighter orange color and sweeter flavor than roasting the squash as in the above recipe. I probably didn’t use all the heavy cream and butter, but I don’t remember how much I actually used. I’ll try it again and report back.

Butternut Squash Soup with Ginger and Lime

I tried this recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, except I simmered the squash in vegetable broth rather than roasting it.  In addition to the squash, it calls for onion, a hot green chile, fresh ginger, garlic, maple syrup, and the juice of 1 to 2 limes.  The final soup was bright orange with a reasonably creamy texture.  I did not care for the soup however.  I only used one lime yet still the sourness of the limes dominated, and the sweet earthy squash taste was overpowered.  I did not taste any ginger either.  I wouldn’t make this recipe again.

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