Flavorful and Beautiful Winter Squash Soup
This winter has brought a plethora of winter squash. More than I know what to do with! My go-to when it comes to extra food . . . make soup and freeze it for later. Wonderfully winter is the perfect time to make squash soup. And, winter is the perfect time to warm up a batch from the freezer. So, all the extra winter squash won’t be wasted.
I started experimenting with adding new flavors to the traditional winter squash soup by using leeks, chestnuts, spices that stay in the soup and spices that are removed from the soup before serving. This curried winter squash soup was the final winner. I like a hearty soup; something a chew a little rather than a thin broth soup. But, if you like a thinner soup you can add up to additional 4 cups of stock (more flavorful) or water. Each way the recipe tasted great so the finished soup really comes down to preference on thickness.
Use Any Winter Squash
We read and hear a lot about butternut squash. This winter squash seems to be the current favorite for home cooks. This recipe works great with butternut squash. The sweet, earthy flavor from the chestnuts is perfect with butternut squash. You can always make mashed butternut squash with this recipe.
The winter squash pictured is from a Kabocha. This winter squash grows really well in my valley and is extremely affordable. It has a sweet, nutty flavor perfect for soups. I like to use it because it has a deeper color that makes me very happy when I sit down to eat. And, let’s be honest, anything that warms my heart as well as my stomach is a winner in my book!
Red Kuri or Hokkaido squash will also give a beautiful, deep, rich color. The flavor will be a bit more fellow with less of a nutty hint.
Golden Hubbard works nicely with this recipe as well. We usually stock up on Hubbards because they sweeten as they sit. Plus, they have thick, hearty skins so I’ve had them last into summer when stored in a dry, cool place.
And don’t forget the good old Sugar Pumpkin. Yes, this really is the winter squash used to make pumpkin pie. It’s great as a soup as well but it will be sweeter than most other winter squashes. You may want to add additional savory herbs and spicy and probably skip the optional maple syrup.
I’m not a fan of smaller, highly grooved winter squash for soup recipes. It just takes too much time to peel them! But, if you get a ripping great buy on acorn squash use this recipe for stuffed acorn squash.
Curried Winter Squash Soup Recipe
- 1 large leek
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 whole nutmeg seed, smashed using the flat side of a knife
- 2 cardamom pods
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 dried chipotle chilies
- 2 T chopped fresh sage
- 3 T butter
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 T jalapeno pepper, seeded, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds winter squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup drained jarred chestnuts, chopped
- ½ t. ground allspice
- ¼ t. ground mace
- 2 t. curry powder
- ½ t. Herbamare
- ½ t. white pepper
- ½ t. smoked sea salt
- 2 T pure maple syrup (optional)
- 2 scallions, sliced (optional)
- Finely chop white and pale green parts of the leek. Mince garlic. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Gather cinnamon stick, smashed nutmeg, cardamom pods, chopped ginger, chilies and sage in a piece of cheesecloth, soup sock or soup infuser. Set aside.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped leeks and sauté for about 10 minutes or until softened.
- Add the parsley and jalapeno; cook, stirring occasionally for another 5 minutes.
- Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the squash and toss to coat with the leek mixture.
- Add the stock, chestnuts, allspice, mace, curry powder, Herbamare, pepper, salt and soup sock.
- Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, until the squash is tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly. Discard soup sock. Add maple syrup if using.
- Transfer the soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor; puree.
- Transfer the soup back to the pot. Taste for additional seasoning needed.
- Return soup to a simmer to heat through.
- Divide soup into bowls and garnish with scallions.
Winter Squash Seeds
Don’t forget to save those seeds. Use this pumpkin seed recipe to make sweet or savory winter squash seeds. Reduce the waste and make a wonderful snack treat!