Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Total Time:
45 min
20 min
25 min

4 servings

  • For the soup:
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diced onion
  • 1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced celery
  • 1/4 cup (1/4-inch) diced carrot
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Sea salt, preferably gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • About 4 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted coriander, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups Roasted Winter Squash recipe
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half, optional
  • To serve:
  • 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese, optional
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds, optional
  • Roasted Winter Squash:
  • About 3 pounds butternut squash (preferably 1 large squash)
  • Gray salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
  • 2 teaspoons Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
  • Toasted Spice Rub:
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup (1-ounce) pure California chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
To serve:

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and cinnamon stick and saute until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the chicken stock and the coriander, if using, and bring to a boil. Simmer for several minutes. Stir in the squash until smooth, then simmer gently to let the flavors meld, about 10 minutes. Discard the cinnamon stick.

Puree the soup in a blender until smooth. (The soup can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for several days or frozen for about 1 month. It will thicken as it cools and may need thinning with stock or water when reheating.)

Return the soup to the pan and reheat gently. Add the half-and-half, if using. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep warm until service.

To serve:

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish evenly, with the cheese and pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Roasted Winter Squash:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the squash with a vegetable peeler. Halve lengthwise, discard the seeds, then cut into 1-inch dice. Place in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When the butter ceases to foam and has turned a light brown, pull the pan off the heat and immediately add the sage, sugar, vinegar (stand back so as not to get splattered), molasses and toasted spice rub. Mix well and let simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to meld the flavors.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the squash and toss well, then transfer to a heavy rimmed baking sheet or baking dish large enough to hold the squash in a single layer. Place in the oven and roast, tossing at least once, until very tender and caramelized, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Set aside until cool enough to handle but still warm, so the liquids are runny.

Working in batches, if necessary, transfer the warm squash and all the cooking liquids to a food processor and process until smooth. Use immediately, refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Serving suggestions: Serve the puree on its own as a side dish for roast chicken, turkey, or pork; stir into polenta just before the end of cooking; use as a stuffing for ravioli; make into a soup; or use to flavor pastina. Or omit the sage, season with ground cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg to taste, and use as a substitute for canned pumpkin in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.

Variation for Smoky Butternut Squash: Cook the prepared squash on a baking sheet in a covered grill with soaked chips to give a slightly smoky taste. Substitute in any of the recipes that call for roasted squash. If cooking kabocha, acorn, or other difficult-to-peel squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and rub the insides and cut edges with the vinegar/molasses mixture. Place on a baking sheet, cut sides up, and roast at 400 degrees F until tender. Scoop out and puree.

Yield: about 2 cups puree

Toasted Spice Rub:

Toast the fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and peppercorns in a small, heavy pan over medium heat. When the fennel turns light brown, work quickly. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool.

Put mixture into a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the fennel, coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients. Keep the spice mix in a glass jar in a cool, dry place, or freeze.

Chef's notes: Toasting freshens spices, releases their oils, and makes them more fragrant, as well as adding a new dimension of flavor.

Taste your chili powder before adding and, if spicy and hot, cut back the amount. California chilies are almost sweet, not hot.

Yield: about 1 cup

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Pairs Well With
Sauvignon Blanc

Acidic, refreshing white wine

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    84 Reviews
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    Well worth the effort. I used coconut milk as did a few others and it is awesome.
    This is the best soup ever. It's a lot of work, but everyone who's had it has asked me to make over and over again. Toasting the spices really does make a difference. Delicious!
    Use coconut milk instead, grated ginger root, scotch bonnet pepper, (but do NOT let it burst some curry powder (1 tsp and what a much better recipe!  
    We roast the squash cut in half, in a large pan of water, covered with foil. 
    I cannot keep this soup for even a day. They just keep drinking this luscious, autumn delight!
    This dish absolutely embodies the spirit of autumn! I double this batch and freeze the leftovers in glass jars that seem to accumulate in my home. Hey, it's my version of recycling! To thin the soup out I use a chicken or vegetable stock. PLEASE for the love of flavor DO NOT thin out with water !! I normally pull out the sourdough or french bread and grill up some fontina and prosciutto sandwiches to accompany this delicious fall concoction. No complaints, yet!
    Wow! I made this recipe (without any dairy and it came out the best I have ever made. It even looked like the picture (the Vitamix helped a lot. I am sooo happy that this recipe was easy enough and tasty enough....I was licking the bowl!!!
    I make this one several times during the fall. When butternut squash gets cheap, this is my go-to recipe!
    This is my "go-to" butternut squash soup recipe. It is so different than other butternut squash soup recipes. I love the sweet/spicy flavor. If I'm lucky, I can find peeled and cubed butternut squash in the grocery store...BONUS! But a squash is easy to peel and cube. A simple potato peeler works well and to cut and cube it I use a cleaver and once the cleaver is imbedded into the squash (the 1st stroke I lift the knife to about shoulder height (with the squash attached and pound the squash onto the cutting board. A few quick whacks and it is halved. It's easy, noisy, and also reduces your agression! 
    I can just imagine myself eating this soup at Michael's vineyard. Thanks!
    This is by far... not an ' Easy ' level recipe. Prep time was short of 2 hours. It was Scrumptious, a HiT!!!!!! However a bit too hot so I balanced out the ' spicy/hot ' without sacrificing the integrity of the recipe.  
    Cutting the Butternut was challenge and a half!!! Is there any way to cut the butternut preping time ? Can it be semi roasted first then peeled and cut..? Peeling was easy although the Butternut was slippery. . Again.. is there a way to semi roast the butternut, then peel and cut and continue with the recipe.? THIS WAS SOOOO DELICIOUS!
    Delicious! Worth the work of roasting a butternut squash, which, by the way, will make 3 batches of this soup! I made 1 batch of soup at a time, and froze it. I didn't have a cinnamon stick, so I used a dash (<1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg. Also, to add a little sweetness, I added 1/2 a cored and peeled pear when I added the squash. YUM!
    Nice recipe but way, way too sweet. Omit all sugar and even molasses.
    I made this over the course of 2 days - making the spice rub and chopping the veg one morning, then finishing the cooking the next day. Beautiful. So delicious.
    Amazing, only I missed a whole part which is at the bottom -it was still good, I roasted squash in olive oil as I did not see the mix...what mix? Next time will do. : Carrots and celery are a nice addition, not too boring at all!
    This was marvelous.Such a unique blending of flavors,Well worth the time and effort.I have been using the leftover rub on everything,It will be a staple in this house!
    Fantastic Recipe! It was my first time EVER cooking such a detailed recipe. It was well worth the time and effort. I only used 3 cups of broth to make my soup thicker!
    Michael Chiarello is an iron chef. I believe he should have another chance to redeem himself. This is a wonderful recipe
    This was really a yummy soup. A bit of work but worth it. Once you make the spicy rub you can save it in a zip bag and use it when needed.
    Fantastic recipe. I recommend saving some of the roasted squash, do a 1/4" chop and add 1/2 tsp to the top of each serving.
    Divine! Served with croque monsier for cozy dinner/movie night!
    This was delicious. Don't miss the corriander
    This is a spectacular soup - hardy but not overwhelming, with subtle flavors and a great start for our Thanksgiving feast. Will make again for NYEve dinner.
    what a beautiful recipe. i made many adjustments, just because i didn't have time to go to the store, and it was still fantastic with a large depth of flavor. instead of the toasted spice rub, i just used a combination of coriander, cinnamon, black pepper, and salt. also, i used a touch less molasses after reading some previous reviews, and i thought that was great advice. i also added ginger, and topped the soup with little crostinis that i broiled with fontina cheese, instead of the mascarpone. i thought the savory cheesy crostini balanced out the sweetness of the soup better than mascarpone would have.
    this is one of the best soups ever!! i made it ahead (just now and i'm going to serve it for dinner tonight. i cant wait to eat a whole bowl!! i adapted it a little to accommodate what i had already in my spice cabinet. i went ahead and used ground sage, and omitted the coriander for the squash recipe since i didn't have any. i added a pinch of cumin and ground cinnamon to the carrots, celery and onion while they were cooking... sooo good! it is quite sweet though, so if you are watching your sugar, maybe omit the 2 Tbsp. of brown sugar. i think it would still be great! also, i think this could be converted into a vegan recipe really easily :
    yummy, yummy, yummy, a little salty, but it may have been me, salting my vegetables too much, will cut back next time, my granddaughter, likes the sweetness of the squash so I added about 2tbls honey and 1 tbls sugar, it then had the sweet and salty thing going on, it was Good,,
    we all love it ! thank so much is going on our thanksgiving menu :0  
    well, to all the few that gave it 1-2 stars ... maybe your tastes just run bland! The overwhelming majority seemed to love it as I did as well. Gotta think that if bland is your cup of tea this would be quite the surprise, but my wife and I were very happy and will be making it again come Thanksgiving! I also think that many just aren't as good at following a recipe as they think ... or substitute too much. I follow a recipe and make changes to suit MY tastes. Maybe a little less molasses next time but that would be it.
    I made this last night for a harvest dinner. Really, really good! I took half the batch and added some coconut milk and curry and made it into a Thai style soup. Both styles were fantastic and everyone loved them. Besides the soup - does anyone have any good suggestions of what to do with the leftover spice rub?? I made the entire batch not realizing all I needed was a couple teaspoons for the recipe.
    I like this recipe a lot, though I made a few changes to it. When roasting the butternut squash, I coated the squash with olive oil, butter, Grill Mates smokehouse maple seasoning, cinnamon, 2 sage leaves, and sugar. I did not use the Toasted Spice Rub. When making the soup, I did use ground corriander.
    Everything Michael makes is the best. I'm so glad you are featuring him today and in this month's Foodnetwork magazine.
    Made this wonderful soup yesterday and, yes, it was time consuming, but that is what I love to do on the weekends. Complex flavors, a little heat, a little sweet - yummy. I froze the leftover pureed roasted squash and I think I will use it to make ravioli.
    This was a huge hit! There wasn't a drop left - well worth the work. I added leeks and am thinking that some maple brown sugar baked bacon strips would be a great condiment. If you are going to tackle this recipe think about doing it over a couple of days.
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