Butternut Squash Soup
90 Min

Butternut Squash Soup

Squashes are true natives of the New World, with research dating various species back thousands of years in the Americas. I’ve read that they were considered “the apples of God” by North American Indians, who had a strong belief that if planted close to settlements, they’d result in increased fertility. The modern butternut was developed in Massachusetts in the mid-20th century by crossing a Gooseneck and a Hubbard squash to achieve a sweet nuttiness with a buttery texture. I had never seen a butternut until I came to the United States, and I immediately fell in love with it. It was one of the first vegetables I fed my children — simply roasted, mashed and drizzled with copious amounts of ghee. The sweet texture lends itself so well to warm, savory and pungent spices. Over the years, I’ve used them in different ways_ adding large chunks to simple homemade dal (curried lentils) preparations, for example, or topping the roasted squash with a sprinkling of sharp cheese and roasted cumin seeds. Butternut also tastes great with dollops of plain yogurt, freshly ground black pepper and whatever fragrant herbs you have at hand — and makes a wonderful addition to meat stews or curries. Here is a recipe for a simple, slightly creamy soup with a hint of clove that can be embellished for the holidays with the addition of lobster, shrimp or other seafood. The lentils add a depth of flavor, and the coriander tempering at the end adds a lemony note to contrast with the sweet butternut.
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Cook Time

90 Minutes



Step 1
Peel and chop the butternut squash into 1/2-inch cubes (with the seeds). Combine the squash with the whole serrano chile, turmeric, coconut milk, ginger, salt, cinnamon stick, star anise, and 6 cups water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the squash is tender. Let the soup rest for 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 2
Discard the star anise and cinnamon and purée the entire soup in a blender. Alternatively, use a stick blender. Be careful with the hot liquids (if the blender is not heat resistant, wait for the mixture to cool down to tepid). Put the soup back into the stockpot. It should be a bright yellow-orange color. If the soup is too thick, add a little bit of water. Alternately, if it is too thin, let it simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
Step 3
In a small frying pan, heat the coconut oil and pop the mustard seeds. Add to the soup. Taste for balance and flavor.
Step 4
Serve topped with goat cheese, pumpkin seeds, and chopped mint.
1 small butternut squash (4 cups peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes)
1 serrano chile, stem removed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup coconut milk
1-inch piece of ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 long cinnamon stick
3 to 4 whole star anise
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

Notes & Variations

  • Replace mustard with cumin seeds. Top with roasted peanuts instead of pumpkin seeds and cilantro instead of mint.
  • To make a shrimp butternut squash soup, peel the shrimp and make a shrimp stock. Use the stock instead of water. Drop the shrimp in the soup in the last 2 minutes of cooking. They should be plump and juicy.
  • Replace butternut with carrots or parsnips.
90 Min

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