I love autumn, because it’s when squash starts showing up at the markets. And butternut squash is a comfort food from way back, when my mom used to buy the frozen blocks of it, then serve it with salt, pepper, and a pool of melty margarine.
I still sometimes buy the frozen blocks. But I’d much rather buy the actual squash, throw it in a roasting pan, and play with the cooked chunks. This soup comes together very quickly if your squash is already roasted. The crispy sage leaves and toasted pepitas add crunch and just the right herby note to the smoky soup.
Smoky butternut squash soup with crispy sage leaves and toasted pepitas
Makes 4 servings
3 oz (100 g) potato
2 C. (500 g) vegetable broth
16 oz (450 g) roasted butternut squash
1/4 t. (pinch) cumin
1 t. (2 g) smoked paprika
1/4 t. (1.25 ml) liquid smoke
1/8 t. (pinch) chipotle powder
8 sage leaves
1/2 C. (125 g) pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds)
Preheat the oven to 400F/180C/gas mark 6. Roast the butternut squash: cut off each end, slice lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a grapefruit spoon. Spray or brush cut sides with oil. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until soft and tender. Scoop out the flesh from the skin.
Wash the potato and cut up into small cubes. Put in a microwave-safe container with filtered water and 1 t. salt. Cook until fork-tender. Drain. [You can also roast the whole potato in the same pan as the squash.]
Combine all the ingredients except the sage and the pepitas in a blender and blend until smooth. Toast the pepitas in a dry skillet until toasted. Lightly spray the skillet, then add the sage leaves and lightly fry on each side until crispy. Top the soup with crispy sage leaves and the toasted pepitas right before serving.