As the weather turns, we of the north need warming sustenance. Welcome, Spiced Winter Squash Soup! It’s sure to warm even the coldest of noses and tippy toes.
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Sending a HUGE soup hug out to one of my amazing staffers from my days at The Dragonfly Inn (in beautiful Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia) who requested this recipe. My girls were my solace in those times. They kept the place SPOTLESS and me sane(ish)… kinda’. Also, my taste testers!
Spiced Winter Squash Soup was a menu time for a lovely wedding we catered in the early fall. It was a staff favourite. Rich with warm spices, creamy smooth, and deeply nutritious. It’s also dead easy to make, but it takes a bit of time.
Winter squash comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and textures, but every single one of them is power-packed with nutrition. Here I’m using a Kabocha Squash, but you could use Buttercup Squash, Hubbard Squash, Achorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Pumpkin (of course!), or even Sweet Potato if you like. They all work equally well for this recipe.
I chose Kabocha squash because I feel like it doesn’t get nearly enough press. Know also as the Japanese Pumpkin, Kabocha has gloriously golden-orange flesh and works well roasted, or mashed, for soups, stews, and even pies. Never underestimate the power of a good gourde!
The thing about squashes; is they’re tough little suckers. They’re also round, they can be a bitch to cut and equally difficult to peel. So use that oven kids!
Split your squash in half, being sure to use a safe knife technique; use a kitchen towel to protect your blade hand. It’s easy to slip and have your hand slide down the tip of your knife and cut your hand, just from the pressure. So be sure to guard that hand as you apply pressure on your knife to cut the squash.
Once split, coat well with olive oil all over, season with salt and pepper, place it FACE DOWN on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then pop it in the oven until done. How long will that take? Depends on the size, and type of your squash. In this Spiced Winter Squash Soup recipe, my squash was cooked in a little under an hour (45 – 50 minutes).
While the squash was cooking, I built my soup base, which I held on reserve, until the squash was tender and cooled enough to handle easily so I could scoop out all that delicious flesh. Then it’s as simple as blend, spice, and simmer.
Soup Is Love
The perfect bowl of soup never goes out of style. A warming appetizer, a hearty lunch, ty this Spiced Winter Squash Soup with my Cheese Bacon Apple Biscuits! Killer combination, just the right amount of sweetness to balance the palate.
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As the weather turns, we look for comfort and warmth. Spiced Winter Squash Soup is sure to warm you even the coldest of noses and tippy toes. So flexible it can remain vegan (with a little swirl of coconut milk) or shift vegetarian (with a dash of cream) or go heartier, omnivore (by substituting chicken stock for vegetable broth). Pure comfort, in a bowl!
1/4cup coconut milk or heavy cream, for serving (optional)
finish with a dash of seeds (optional)
Preheat your oven to 375⁰f (190⁰c). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and reserve until needed. Split your squash in half, being sure to use a safe knife technique. Use a kitchen towel to protect your blade hand as you apply pressure. (It’s easy to slip and have your hand slide down the tip of your knife and cut your hand.) Once split, coat with olive oil all over, season with salt and pepper, place it FACE DOWN on a baking sheet lined with parchment and then pop it in the oven until the blade of a pairing knife penetrates the skin and flesh easily, about 45 – 50 minutes.
While your winter squash is roasting, build your soup base. In a large pot over medium heat, sweat your onions until transparent. Then add carrots, cook for a couple of minutes, stirring as needed then add celery. Now add your garlic and grated ginger. Cook until vegetables are tender and aromatics are fragrant and still blond, then season lightly with salt and pepper.
Once your vegetable and the aromatic base is cooked, add stock and thyme then reserve, off the heat, until the squash is fully cooked and cooled.
Once cooked, remove squash from the oven and rest, to cool. Be sure to keep squash face down, this will help to steam the winter squash flesh completely as it cools, making it easy to scoop out all that delicious flesh into a bowl.
Return the stock base to the heat, bring to a rolling boil then add squash pulp and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove any thyme stems (if using whole thyme sprigs) Then it’s as simple as; blend, add your spices and honey, simmer then season to taste and serve, piping hot.
Thyme notes: you can use thyme in any form. Thyme sprigs must be removed before blending. Thyme leaves, fresh or dried can remain. If substituting dried thyme for fresh use 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves.
Cooking in her home kitchen just outside Ottawa, Canada; Cori Horton is a food photographer and recipe blogger. A Cordon Bleu-trained Chef, Cori spent five years as the owner of Nova Scotia's Dragonfly Inn and has been sharing all things delicious - right here - since 2010.