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The Pollan Family Table Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Butternut_SquashSoup_400‘Tis the season for warming, soothing soup; this one is great because squash’s creamy base requires no heavy-handed enhancement. Two shopping lists, one from the local market and the other in the form ingredients you may have in your pantry, make it easy to assemble. From The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals.

FROM THE MARKET
Butternut squash (2¾ pounds whole or 2¼ pounds peeled and seeded)
Carrot (1 medium)
Yellow onion (1 medium)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Fresh ginger (1 small knob)
Unsalted butter (2 tablespoons)

FROM THE PANTRY
Raw shelled pumpkin seeds, also called pepitas (2 tablespoons)
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt
Black pepper
Low-sodium vegetable broth (1 quart)
Ground nutmeg (2 pinches)
Kosher salt
Balsamic Vinegar Glaze (1 teaspoon)

On a chilly fall evening, nothing beats a warm bowl of butternut squash soup. The toasted pumpkin seeds and balsamic vinegar ramp up the flavor, and because of the smooth, buttery texture of the squash, there is no need to add heavy cream.

Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Makes about 2 quarts (4 to 6 servings)

2 tablespoons raw shelled pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Organic olive oil cooking spray
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
½ cup peeled and chopped carrots
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
7 cups peeled, seeded, and diced butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 pinches ground nutmeg
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar Glaze

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Spread the pumpkin seeds across a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and spray lightly with the cooking oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

In a large stockpot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and carrots and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 30 seconds. Add the butternut squash and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the stockpot from the heat and allow the soup to cool until no longer steaming. Working in batches, ladle the soup into a blender (place a towel on the top when blending to avoid hot splashes) or food processor and blend on high until smooth. Pour the pureed soup into a clean pot. (As an alternative you can use a handheld immersion blender and blend the soup right in the pot.)

Return the soup to the heat and add the nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, and black pepper to taste. Stir to blend well and simmer until hot. Ladle the soup into individual bowls and top each serving with 1 teaspoon of the toasted pump¬kin seeds. Add a swirl of balsamic vinegar glaze, ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon for each bowl, and serve.

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