I know fall has arrived when Honey Nut Squash appear in baskets at the supermarket and at my local farmers’ markets. Related to the Butternut Squash, they are smaller and the flesh is more intensely orange and sweeter than that of their larger cousins. A couple of pointers. First, you do not need to peel the squash. Yes, it’s true. Thank you, Jamie Oliver, for teaching me this time-saving tip years ago. As the soup simmers, the skin becomes tender and blends beautifully into the resulting puree.
Second, because this soup requires so few ingredients, use whatever vegetable broth you like best. Some recipes suggest chicken broth, but I think it’s too strong (“chickeny”) here. Vegetable broth allows the sweet-savory flavor of squash, onions, and spices to sing more harmoniously, plus our vegan and vegetarian friends will be happy. I happen to like Better Than Bouillon concentrate, but I have also used cubes from Knorr and Edward & Sons. Of course, boxed shelf-stable vegetable broth can also work; just make sure you are happy with the flavor before using it here.
Finally, this soup is delicious on its own, but consider using it as a base for other ingredients to round out your meal. Adorn it with a dollop of creme fraiche and roasted pepitas. Stir in a handful of arugula drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt. Or add pieces of veggie burgers, sliced sweet cherry tomatoes, and rubbed kale to create a warm salad of sorts. However you enjoy this soup, I hope it becomes a nourishing staple of your fall and winter kitchen as it has mine.
Makes about 5 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
Ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
3 small to medium Butternut Squash, trimmed, seeded, and chopped
1 heaping teaspoon bouillon concentrate
In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, season with a generous pinch of salt, and saute until softened and light golden.
Season with a generous grinding of pepper and stir in the spices. Add the squash, add enough water just to cover, stir in the bouillon, and bring to an active simmer.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth, adding more water if necessary and seasoning with additional salt and pepper and bouillon as needed.
Serve immediately, or store in glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.