We got carried away at last weekend’s farmers’ market. The combination of wet weather keeping the crowds down, a completely bare refrigerator waiting for us at home, and the fact that Portland’s extended harvest season meant that we could buy eggplant and peppers along with our brussels sprouts and squash, meant that we left with much more food than we intended. We literally staggered back to the car, Justin carrying our market basket, which weighed close to 50 pounds, and me carrying a tote bag that drooped closer and closer to the sidewalk with each step.
When I’m away from our kitchen, as I was during our recent trip to Virginia, I start pining to cook again, and longing for all of the other facets of cooking beyond the plated dish: chopping, organizing, stirring...cleaning dishes. So it’s not a surprise that we spent all of this week, with the exception of Halloween, cooking meals at home. We finished our ingredients yesterday, roasting butternut squash for this soup, and then throwing all of our odds and ends into one of Justin’s delicious, salty stir-frys.
Because butternut squash is so versatile and ubiquitous, there are thousands of butternut squash soup recipes throughout blogs, food websites, and cookbooks. Butternut squash has the same chameleon-like quality as tofu; it serves as an ideal base for a myriad of flavors, like sage, browned butter, or cream. This soup recipe uses the squash as a vessel for a variety of sharp, full-mouthed spices: cumin, coriander, caraway, and cayenne.
You finish by topping the soup with butternut squash chips (yes, you read that correctly!): reason alone to make this soup.
Spiced Butternut Squash Soup with Squash Chips
Recipe Source: The Garden Cookbook
- 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 medium butternut squash (at least 2 lbs)
- olive oil
- 3 medium onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 50 g butter
- 750 ml vegetable stock
- 220 ml creme fraiche
- Preheat the oven to 350. Slice of a small piece of the squash and put aside. You’ll use this for the squash chips. Then, but the squash in half length-wise, remove the seeds, and drizzle with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake for up to an hour, until the squash is soft.
- Scrape the flesh from the skin and set aside.
- Toast the seeds in a dry frying pan for a couple minutes. Grind with the cayenne powder.
- Chop the onions and garlic and then sweat them gently in butter for 10 minutes. You want them soft but not browned. Add the spices and stock and simmer until the soup is the heat and consistency you want. If you want a smooth soup, blend it (we did!)
- Whisk in the creme fraiche.
- To make the chips: slice thing strips of squash with a peeler or knife and shallow fry them in very hot canola oil until they begin to brown. Drain them and then place on top of the soup. Enjoy!