real life test kitchen: perfect squash soup

squash

The truth is that this soup was a complete accident. I wanted to serve roasted squash for Thanksgiving. So, I sliced up a kabocha and an acorn squash I found at the farmer’s market, added parsnips and cippolini onions to the mix, concocted a vinaigrette to drizzle over the top, and tossed the whole thing on a platter. And it was a huge hit. After dinner, I wrapped up the leftovers, and no one touched them. So, after 3 days, rather than pitching the lot, I thought I’d just see what happened if I tried to turn the mix into soup. I added some stock we’d made from the turkey, threw it all in the blender, and…well, it was the best squash soup I’d ever tasted. The roasting gave the squash this wonderful, full flavor, and the sweet onions worked their magic too. The parsnips kept the flavor of the squash from being too monotonous, and the vinaigrette I’d whipped up at the last minute just made it magic. Really, how could you go wrong with sage fried in butter, with balsamic vinegar?

If I’d only known how good the leftovers were going to be, I’d have served the soup at Thanksgiving! –Becki S.

soup

Perfect Squash Soup
**This yields a generous 3 quarts of soup, but it freezes beautifully.

1 large squash (kabocha, acorn or butternut), cut into large chunks
1 onion, peeled and sliced into wedges (leaving root end intact)
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 tbs butter
2 tbs olive oil (plus more for vegetables)
5-6 sage leaves, roughly chopped
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 375 deg. to roast vegetables. The easiest way to dismantle your squash is to use a cleaver to cut off the top and bottom, then split down the middle. Scoop out the seeds inside and discard, then use a sharp knife to cut each half into wedges, and cut each wedge in half (or thirds, if using butternut squash). Parsnips, onions and squash should all be cut into roughly the same size pieces for even roasting. Don’t worry about peeling the squash – you can remove skin after cooking.

Place all vegetables on a large baking tray in a single layer, season generously with salt and pepper, and toss with olive oil to coat. Roast for approx. 1 hour, or until very tender; remove, and let cool completely.

While vegetables are cooling, melt butter and olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. When butter is melted and is crackling a bit, add the sage leaves. Cook for about 1 minute, then remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar. Add to stock, and set aside.

Using a blender, blend the vegetables (peel squash before blending) and stock mixture together in batches (should take about 3 batches) until very smooth – never fill the blender more than half full. After blending each batch, pour into a large bowl to combine all batches. When blending the last batch, add more or less stock to get the entire soup to the texture you like best. Don’t use quite all the squash – save maybe 6-8 pieces. Stir together thoroughly, and add salt and pepper to taste.

You should have just enough squash left over to make a perfect side dish for dinner (you might want to save a tablespoon of that delicious vinaigrette to put on top)!

From our partners
Megan B

This sounds so amazing — and balanced. Love the idea of the sage-infused butter in the soup! A little bit naughty, but oh so nice…

haha, it is so very nice. plus, you get a lot of mileage out of that 2T of butter, since it’s spread out over 3 quarts of soup. not quite as naughty as it sounds!