I have to admit, when I love a movie or a song, I play it over and over until it makes everyone around me insane. But I find myself singing this squash-soup song again and again and no one’s tired of it yet! I have served this soup at many dinner parties, and countless satisfied diners have told me they could have happily kept inhaling the first course. With a velvety texture and warm undertones of ginger, the bright tang of orange zest, and a slight sweetness, this little number dances on your tongue and doesn’t miss a beat. The sweetener is optional, but it makes the orange and ginger really pop. It’ll be tempting to add more ginger and orange zest, but be careful. As the soup cools, those flavors get stronger and want a solo. Keep them as the backup artists, and let the squash be the star.
- Yield: 8 Servings as a starter, 6 as a main
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or grapeseed oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups (300 g) diced yellow onion
- Natural salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup (66 g) diced celery (about 2 ribs)
- ½ cup (80 g) diced carrot (about 1 carrot)
- 2 cups (280 g) cubed orange-flesh sweet potatoes (1 inch/2.5 cm cubes)
- 1 large butternut squash or pumpkin, about 2.5 pounds (1.15 kg), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 8 cups (1.9 l) vegetable broth
- ¼ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- Pure maple syrup (optional)
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the celery and saute for 5 minutes, then stir in the carrot, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and ginger. Add the vegetable broth and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer gently for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are completely tender. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the orange zest.
- Allow the soup to cool slightly, then pour it into your blender in batches and puree on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy. (Remember to remove the plastic cap in the blender top and cover the opening with a kitchen towel so steam can escape while you blend.) Return the soup to the saucepan and warm over low heat. Add maple syrup to taste and serve.