Roasted Squash Soup with Chilli Oil

 

This simple squash soup recipe is great for anytime in autumn or winter, and can be served chilled in warmer months. My mother, sister and other half have all made various versions of this recipe, which feature a roasted and then pureed squash. The spice combinations are endless, but I prefer to keep the additions to a minimum and let the star of the dish speak for itself. Keeping the recipe simple, and not mucking it up with a bunch of “pumpkin spices”, let’s each of your guests control the flavour with the meal time addition (or not) of a complex, smokey and garlicky chilli oil.

 

I do, on the other hand, love to mix and match different combinations of squash, pumpkin or any other gourd available to layer different flavours in each spoonful. My only recommendation for technique, if you’re experimenting with different gourds is to make sure you strain or sieve your finished soup because you don’t want to end up with any of the woody or stringy textures that accompany certain types of squash.

squash-soup-white-vert-tight-crop

 

Roasted Squash Soup with Chilli Oil

Prep time: 50 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Makes enough for 8-10 servings, lasts for a week, and will freeze and reheat well

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 45ml/3 tbsp olive oil
  • 500ml/2C chicken stock (substitute vegetable stock if you’re vegan)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 15ml/1 tbsp of freshly grated ginger (half if using ginger powder)
  • Salt
  • Chilli oil (if you don’t want to make chilli oil, buy some for your pantry)

Instructions:

Prep:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Line a baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil.
  2. Half each squash lengthwise, then cut again into quarters. Slice each quarter into four segments, and lay out slices flat on baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with 15ml/1 tbsp of olive oil and sprinkle to coat with salt.
  4. Roast in oven for 45 minutes.

Note: If you are uneasy about cutting into a squash, or don’t have a truly sharp knife in your kitchen, watch this video on how to cut a squash with a bread knife. If you still can’t figure it out, ask someone for help.

Cook:

  1. Bring stock to a rolling boil in a large pot.
  2. Scoop out the flesh of your squashes, reserving seeds for a snack. Discard the skin, unless you make your own stock. In which case, freeze the skin in your stock bag. If freezer scrap stock is a new concept to you, prepare to have your mind blown.
  3. Add squash, garlic clove, and grated ginger to your stock and stir until the temperature comes back to a boil.
  4. Turn down the stove to a low flame and cover with a lid. Think 20% of your stove’s maximum energy output. Simmer for at least ten minutes, and up to an hour to let the flavours marry.
  5. Remove from heat and blend the soup using an immersion blender, or food processor. If you don’t have one, please buy one. Seriously though, if you’re in a pinch, or cooking in a dormitory or at a friend’s who is incompetent in a kitchen, make sure the squash simmers for an hour, then mush out any chunks with the back of a spoon and strain through a fine sieve. Your soup should still be silky, smooth and delicious.

Note: This is a versatile soup, and the recipe can be played with a lot. If you want a rich, luscious version, use half stock and half cream, then serve with a monte au beurre, which is French for “put lots of butter in at the end”. If you’re a food nerd, read this explanation from Thomas Keller.