We are in full-fledged fall, which is the perfect time to make this fabulous Squash Soup with Pepitas Two Ways. Smooth, creamy, vegetarian (if you don’t use chicken stock like I did), dairy and gluten-free, this soup starter will rock your dinner guests’ palettes.
I will confess that I struggle with cutting up squash. I felt like I was getting an actual workout yesterday, as I tried to cut through the tough exterior to unleash the inner vegetable. Frankly, it was quite frustrating. If you told me that I had to pay three times as much for a squash that had already been cubed, I would not think twice about accepting this offer. But this soup is definitely worth the annoyance and effort.
This recipe appeared in the October issue of Food & Wine. I followed it to a tee, except that I added a generous amount of fresh ground pepper and a hefty pinch of cayenne pepper. I’ve added these minor — but in my opinion critical additions — to the recipe below.
What originally caught my eye about this recipe is the pumpkin seeds. Toasted pumpkin seeds are a true favorite of our family. And the fact that they are prepared two ways for this soup is just special. You make a toasted pumpkin seed paste as well as candied pumpkin seeds as garnishes for the soup. Yummy!
I’d also never tried pumpkin seed oil. It wasn’t cheap to buy, nor easy to find (located it at Whole Foods), but I splurged. I think it’s worth splurging, although now I’ve got to find some other dish to use it in this fall. Any ideas??
- ¾ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 6 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Kosher salt
- 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
- One 3¼-pound kabocha squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 bay leaf
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 2 cups water
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Hefty pinch of cayenne pepper
- Pumpkin seed oil, for drizzling
- Preheat the oven to 375°. Spread ½ cup of the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate. In another pie plate, toss the remaining ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds with the ½ teaspoon of olive oil, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 12 minutes, stirring once, until lightly browned and crisp; let cool completely.
- Transfer the plain roasted pumpkin seeds to a mini food processor. Add ¼ cup of the olive oil and pulse until the seeds are ground to a paste. Season with salt.
- In a saucepan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened and just starting to brown, 8 minutes. Add the squash and bay leaf and cook, stirring, until the squash just begins to soften, 5 minutes. Add the wine and cook until almost evaporated, 4 minutes. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring, until the squash is very tender, 20 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
- Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Return it to the saucepan, rewarm and season with salt, cayenne and fresh ground pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a spoonful of the pumpkin seed paste, the sugared pumpkin seeds and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil.
- MAKE AHEAD The soup can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently before serving.