ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH (POMPOEN) SOUP

 

Nothing says ‘hurray for autumn’ like the sight of pumpkins tumbling over the shelves in stores and markets.  And nothing warms you better on the crisp, cool days than a delicious soup.  Roasting the squash in the oven brings out a sweet, caramelized taste and the dash of cinnamon just makes it, well, yum!

PREP TIME:  10 min

ROASTING TIME:  1 hour

COOK  TIME:  allow at least 45 min for the soup on the stove.  I you have a Wonderbag, you can leave it for a few hours or all day.

MAKES:  roughly 7 cups (1.6 L)

INGREDIENTS
FOR ROASTING THE SOUP

  • 1 butternut squash, cut in half, lengthwise and seeds removed

  • Pinch of salt

  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil

  • 3 shallots, finely diced

  • 3 TBSP olive oil

  • 1 TBSP fresh thyme (2 tsp if using freeze-dried, 1 tsp if using dried)

  • ¾ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp turmeric

  • 6 cups (1 ½ liter) vegetable or chicken broth

  • Salt and pepper to taste

OPTIONAL GARNISHES:

  • Thai or Spanish chili pepper, finely diced

  • Fresh chives, finely diced

  • Greek yogurt

  • Cashew nuts, roughly chopped

 

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ROAST THE SQUASH

 

1)  Preheat oven to 200 C/ 400 F.

 

2)  Place squash flesh-side up into a large baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and season with a bit of salt.

 

3)  Cook for 50-60 minutes, until the squash is soft when tested with a fork.

 

4)  Let cool for 10 min and then use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

COOK THE SOUP
WONDERBAG METHOD

 

1)  Heat a 2 ½ quart (3 litre) pot on medium-high.  Add olive oil and shallots and saute 5 minutes, until shallots are soft and start to brown.

 

2)  Add the roasted butternut squash, thyme, cinnamon and stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

 

3)  Reduce heat to med-low and simmer, covered, for 10 min.

 

4)  Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave to cook for a minimum of 1 hour (best to leave it 3-4 hours, or all day, the flavours deepen the longer you leave it).

CONVENTIONAL/STOVE METHOD

 

1)  Heat a 2 ½ quart (3 litre) pot on medium-high.  Add olive oil and shallots and saute 5 minutes, until shallots are soft and start to brown.

 

2)  Add the roasted butternut squash, thyme, cinnamon and stock, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil.

 

3)  Reduce heat to low and simmer covered for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

SERVE

 

When you're ready to serve, puree the soup into a smooth consistency using a hand/staff blender (or transfer to a food processor or drinks blender) and laddle into bowls.

 

Season with salt and pepper to taste and top with diced chilies and chives as desired (as pictured).  For an added protein boost, stir in chopped cashew nuts and a dollop of Greek or plain yogurt.  It’s whatever you like!

Recipe & Photo Credit:  Cathy Menees

COOKS NOTES

SQUASH

 

Squashes vary in size, for me, a 2.2 lb (1 kg) squash usually yields just over 1 lb (500 g) of spooned-out flesh after roasting – so you can use that guideline if buying pre-peeled and cut squash.

ROASTING

 

If you’re roasting pre-peeled and cut squash, it will likely cook faster than the halved squash.  So toss the cut squash in a bit of olive oil, spread out in a roasting dish, season with salt and cook for 30-40 minutes, until soft.  You’ll want to stir it about every 15 minutes to make sure it’s not sticking or burning.

 

SKIPPING THE ROASTING?

If you’re in a hurry, you don’t HAVE to roast the squash first.  Roasting it just gives it a depth of flavor by letting the natural sugars emerge in a dry heat.  Skipping the roasting step will give it a ‘lighter’ taste, which is also delicious – either way, you’ll have a yummy soup!

 

GARNISH

 

If you want to make this a more filling lunch, then stir in some chopped cashews and a dollop of Greek yogurt.  A little goes a long way to making you feel satiated!

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