It’s cold here. I mean, I know it isn’t as cold as some parts of the world, but for a Caribbean gal like me, it’s damn well near freezing. These last weeks, I find myself drinking cupfuls of tea every day, and dreaming of really warm things like oatmeal, stews, and of course, soups.
Since in South Africa I saw butternut squash EVERYWHERE, and the first shopping I did here had a big crate full, so I thought, why not?! I did have to wait a while to make it, because I love roasting squash. (Remember I didn’t have an oven until last week?) I love roasting it because it brings out its natural sweetness. The kitchen also was super warm and cozy with the lovely aroma emanating from it. I also had some oranges, so I decided to grate a little bit of the zest into the onions, and then juice the rest of it to put in the soup. It completely changed the dish, for the better! It tasted fresher and brighter. But of course since I like contrasts, I needed a little zip too, so I toasted and soaked some ancho chiles and pureed them with some ground chipotle pepper into the cream. The result? Phenomenal. I hope you try it too!
So here’s what you’re going to need:
1 medium-sized butternut squash, halved and roasted at 190C (375F) for about an hour, let cool
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 a large onion, chopped
1 tsp grated orange zest
Juice from 1 orange
5 cups vegetable stock
1 cup 2% milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large ancho chile, toasted, soaked and seeded
2 tsp (or more, heck, I like it spicy, but it’s totally up to you) ground chipotle powder
1/4 – 1/2 cup heavy cream
Parsley leaf, to decorate if you are so inclined
In a large stock pot, add the olive oil and set the heat to medium low. Add the onion and zest. Saute until it is translucent, about 6-7 minutes. In the meantime, peel the squash and cube it. Add to the onions along with some salt, pepper and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add the juice and stock and raise the heat to high. Let it come to a boil, and then lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
When the squash is easy to mush, add the milk and purée with an immersion blender. Simmer for another 5 minutes. Pass it through a chinois (or not, if you want it chunkier, omit this step) and return to heat.
In a small bowl, cut the ancho chile up into strips. Add the chipotle and the cream and with the same immersion blender, blend until it is smooth. Add some salt and pepper to taste. (So your cream won’t whip, heat it up a little).
Serve the soup in bowls, and drizzle with the ancho chipotle cream. Garnish with a parsley leaf. Serve immediately.
From my kitchen to yours,