There are few things as bright and warming as a bowl of homemade winter squash soup. This recipe is farily simple, keeping the focus on the sweet flavor of the squash. Scroll down for variations to keep you eating delicious squash soup all fall and winter long.
Pretty much any type of hard winter squash will do. The exceptions being spaghetti squash—the stringy texture doesn't whirl up very well and it's also not as sweet as other types of squash—and delicata squash simply because it has such a thin skin that it's troublesome to peel.
- 1 large (2 to 3 pounds) winter squash (acorn, butternut, hokkaido, hubbard, kabocha, pumpkin, turban)
- 2 medium onions
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 4 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock
- Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream or crème fraîche
- Optional: 1/4 cup shredded gouda or gruyère cheese
- Optional Croutons:
- 1/2 baguette
- 2 tablespoons butter
Trim off and discard the stem end of the squash. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and "guts." Cut off and discard the peel. Roughly chop the squash and set aside.
Halve, peel, and chop the onion. Peel and mince the garlic.
Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the butter or oil and the chopped onion. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the squash and the broth. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.
While the soup cooks, make the croutons if you're using them: Preheat an oven to 350 F. Tear the bread into bite-size chunks. Melt the butter. Put the pieces in a medium bowl, drizzle with the butter, and toss to coat as evenly as possible. Spread the bread pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake until golden or golden brown. Let cool.
Transfer small batches of the soup to a blender. Hold a kitchen towel over the top (to prevent burns) and whirl until completely and utterly smooth, 2 to 3 minutes per batch. If you're lucky enough to own an immersion or stick blender, now is an excellent time to use it.
Return the soup to the pot and add more salt to taste, if you like. If using the cream or crème fraîche, stir it in now and gently heat the soup over low until heated through.
Serve the soup hot with a handful of croutons and a sprinkle of shredded cheese on top, if you like.
Spice it up by adding a chopped jalapeño and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne along with the garlic.
Make it gingery by including 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger with the garlic.
Add more vegetables by including a peeled and chopped carrot, parsnip, sweet potato, yellow summer squash, and/or turnip along with the squash.
Pack in the protein by including 8 ounces of silken tofu in the blender when you whirl the soup.
Make it crunchy by saving and roasting the squash seeds and then using them as a garnish.