Squash Soup with Pumpernickel Witches and Spicy Blood Droplets (Spicy Roasted Squash Soup with Pumpernickel Toast)

Total Time:
1 hr 40 min
15 min
1 hr 25 min

10 to 12 servings

  • Witch Croutons:
  • 15 slices pumpernickel bread
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup), softened
  • Soup:
  • 1 (12-pound) butternut squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh jalapeno chile, including seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 7 cups chicken broth or water
  • 5 cups water, plus additional for thinning
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • Hot Sauce, as needed
  • Special Equipment: Witch-shaped cookie cutter
  • Make the Witch Croutons: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  • Trim and discard crusts from bread. Spread 1 side of each slice evenly with butter and season with salt and pepper. Cut into witch shapes with cookie cutter and arrange, buttered side-up, on a baking sheet. Toast bread, turning once, in middle of oven until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the croutons to a rack to cool.

  • Make the Soup: Put squash, cut side-down, in a greased shallow baking pan and roast in the oven until very tender, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool and scoop out flesh.

  • Puree squash in batches in a blender with jalapeno, cumin, and broth until very smooth (add water, as needed, to facilitate pureeing). Transfer to a 6 to 8-quart heavy pot and stir in the 5 cups of water. Simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes, then stir in lemon juice, enough water to thin to desired consistency, and salt and pepper, to taste.

  • Divide soup among bowls, top with a witch crouton, and drizzle drops of hot sauce around the sides.

  • Cooks' notes: Toasts may be made 2 days ahead, cooled completely, and kept between layers of paper towels or waxed paper in an airtight container, at room temperature. The squash puree may be made 2 days ahead. Cool completely; then chill, covered.

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    Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown