This hearty, flavorful butternut squash soup will take the chill off of crisp autumn evenings.
Recipes go through iterations until, it is hoped, something approaching perfection is obtained. Of the many squash and pumpkin soups I’ve made over the years, this, so far, has been our favorite. The secret? Smoked chipotle peppers. These robust, pleasantly fiery chili peppers have been this fall’s find in our kitchen. Combined with even hotter arbol chili peppers, the combination has been adding extra zip and depth to our chilies and soups. (Barbra’s worried I’m going to start putting these chilies into our morning oatmeal and waffles.)
The other twist to this particular squash soup was the addition of toasted almonds. As with many recipes, this one invites experimentation. Roasting or grilling the tomatoes and squash adds a dimension of flavor, as does toasting the chopped almonds. And don’t overlook the small pumpkins that are available this time of year as a possible main ingredient. A mug or bowl of this soup served with a hunk of crusty French bread is just the thing as fall days turn wintery.
- 3 cups butternut squash purée (made from steamed, roasted or grilled squash, or from canned pumpkin or squash)
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 1 pound diced tomatoes, seeds removed
- 1/2 cup chopped almonds (preferably toasted)
- 2 cups chicken broth (I used Better than Bouillon)
- 3 dried smoked chipotle chili peppers, chopped fine
- 2 dried arbol chili peppers, chopped fine
- 1 tsp powdered coriander
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp powdered ginger
- 1 tsp powdered cinnamon
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- sea salt to taste
- 1 cup heavy cream
- olive oil
- Cut up a butternut squash into discs roughly 1 inch thick, and then cut the discs into halves or quarters. Scoop away the seeds and fibrous matter. Roast, grill or steam the squash and peel away and discard the skins. To oven-roast, heat oven to 400 degrees F., place a baking sheet covered in olive oil in the oven, and when it’s hot, add the squash. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, or until some of the squash starts to brown.
- Combine the chopped onions, tomatoes and garlic and grill, roast or sauté until onions are translucent. This can be done by placing some olive oil in a large skillet, heating over medium heat, and adding the tomatoes, onions and garlic, stirring occasionally.
- Combine all of the ingredients except the cream in a large mixing bowl. Purée with a stick blender (or in a food processor or with a conventional blender).
- Scrape and pour ingredients into a large pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until soup begins to simmer. Continue simmering on low heat for 20 minutes. A flame tamer may be necessary to prevent soup from boiling. Continue to stir occasionally.
- Stir in cream and return soup to a simmer.
- Serve piping hot.
Garnish individual bowls of soup with sun-dried tomatoes cut into thin strips, a spoonful of toasted garlic and almonds, or both.