Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Soup
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The weather this week called for soup. Wanting something new, I turned to Sally Schneider’s A New Way to Cook and found a recipe for roasted pumpkin and garlic soup described as “utterly simple” and “exceptionally creamy,” all of which sounded perfect.
The recipe called for roasting sugar pumpkins or any winter squash and a head of garlic together, then puréeing the flesh of the two together with stock.
It sounded too simple to be good, but Sally has never steered me wrong, so I made it and was astonished by its flavor. After puréeing the soup, Sally suggests stirring in a few tablespoons of heavy cream or crème fraîche, which I did, but I wouldn’t have missed this final enrichment had I not.
What was going on here? Why was it so good? For two reasons, I think. Time, for one: during the 40 to 60 minutes in the oven, the flavors of both the squash and the garlic intensify. As they roast, they sweeten and soften, emerging meltingly tender with caramelized edges.
And second, the stock. Sally suggests using chicken stock, but I used vegetable stock, which, if you have never made, I can’t recommend enough: it takes no time to throw together, simmers for only 45 minutes, and tastes complex and rich upon completion. I made the stock while the squash and garlic roasted.
Upon being blended, the roasted vegetables transform into the silkiest purée, needing nothing more than a pinch of salt, a few twists of pepper, and, of course, a loaf of bread for dunking.
How to Make Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Soup, Step by Step
Gather your ingredients: garlic and butternut squash.
To prep the squash, halve it, and scoop out the seeds. To prep the garlic, cut the head in half crosswise (through the equator).
Rub the squash with a drizzle of olive oil. For the garlic, drizzle a small amount of oil on the sheet pan, and rub the halved head of garlic in it, cut side down. You only need one head of garlic for this recipe, but I recommend roasting more so that you have those buttery soft cloves on hand to spread over olive oil-toasted slices of bread.
Roast for 1 hour, checking after 40 minutes — you’ll want to remove the garlic at the 40-minute mark if it’s looking caramelized and delicious.
The squash, at the solid end (not the hollowed-out end), should be very knife-tender.
The garlic should be caramelized at the edges and knife-tender as well… some of these are overdone.
You also need stock. This vegetable stock will materialize in the time your squash and garlic roast away in the oven, and if you haven’t yet made it, you will be blown away by its flavor. Promise.
After 45 minutes of simmering, drain the stock…
… and transfer it to storage containers. (I love these deli quart containers). You will have two quarts of stock.
Scoop out the flesh of the squash and the cloves from 1 head of garlic and place them in a pot. Add 1 quart of stock.
Bring to a simmer, the purée until smooth.
At this point, taste for salt and pepper. I consistently add 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt, but, of course, you should add salt to taste. I am astonished by how tasty it is at this point, but even so, I do add the recommended 3 tablespoons of heavy cream or crème fraîche.
Whisk or stir to incorporate, then taste and adjust as needed with more salt and pepper to taste.
Serve as you wish…
If you’re feeling up for it, you could top the soup with frizzled sage leaves and olive oil-toasted bread…
… neither is olive oil-toasted croutons: to make these, simply heat up some extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet stovetop, add torn bread cubes, season with salt, and cook for about 2 minutes or until the cubes are golden at the edges.Print
Adapted from Sally Schneider’s A New Way to Cook.
You need 1 whole head/bulb of garlic for this recipe — not a single clove.
- 1 whole butternut squash, 2.25 to 2.75 lbs
- 1 whole head/bulb of garlic, see notes above
- extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 quart of stock of choice, such as vegetable or chicken
- kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche or heavy cream, optional
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- bread for serving, such as peasant bread or focaccia or no-knead thyme dinner rolls
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper (for easier cleanup).
- Halve the butternut squash: slice off the bottom of the bulbous end, stand the squash upright, then carefully cut straight down through the center. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub the halved sides with a drizzle of olive oil then place them halved side down on the prepared sheet pan. Cut the head of garlic in half through the equator. Rub a small amount of olive oil on the sheet pan and place the garlic, cut side down, in the olive oil. Transfer to the oven.
- After 40 minutes, check on the garlic. If it is knife-tender and caramelized at the surface, remove it, otherwise, let it continue roasting with the squash until done. Cook the squash for roughly 1 hour or until knife tender at the solid end.
- Let the squash and garlic cool for 20 minutes or until cool to the touch. Scoop the squash flesh into a pot. Squeeze the roasted cloves of garlic into the pot as well. Add the quart of stock. Bring to a simmer.
- Use an immersion blender to purée the mixture — alternatively, transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. If you transferred the mixture to puree it, return it to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Taste. Adjust to taste with salt and pepper to taste. I consistently add 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal kosher salt.
- If you wish, add the heavy cream or crème fraîche and whisk to incorporate. Depending on the size of the squash, you may need to add more stock to thin it to the right consistency.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with bread on the side.
- Store the soup in the fridge for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. When reheating day- or days-old soup, you may need to add water or more stock to thin — it thickens as it sits.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Soup
- Method: oven, stovetop
- Cuisine: Amerian
Keywords: butternut squash, garlic, roasted, vegetable stock, salt, pepper