If you don’t know me in “real” life or follow me on Twitter (@megpowesq) you might not know that Cleveland is one of my favorite cities in the whole wide world. I know, I know. Their sports teams suck… GO TRIBE, GO BROWNIES! Economic hardships are prevalent. I don’t care what you say, burn on big river, burn on! I truly love Cleveland.
If I’ve ever interviewed for an episode of “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” they’d have to do an entire show of me gushing over the meal I had at Lola, Michael Symon’s insanely amazing restaurant in C-land. Seriously, words cannot describe the tastebadic orgasm that happened the night I dined there.
So naturally, when this recipe for Roasted Butternut Squash Soup came across my email with the fabulous Derek Clayton from Lola as the author, I had to try it.
There’s heat, there’s maple syrup, there’s cream and roasted, and sweet and yum! Oh, it’s divinity… I swear!
This soup is delicious and the consistency is so creamy and thick that it’s close to a vegetable puree. So hearty and warming, even the coldest day spent on the Cuyahoga River could be cut by it’s heartiness.
Easily made vegan or vegetarian… go on… get your soup on!
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
1 butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
1 teaspoon butter, melted
2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground cinnamon
2 yellow onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 medium carrots, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery ribs, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Cider vinegar (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced into matchsticks
Salt & pepper, to taste (about 2 teaspoons of salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°. Slice the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and fibrous pulp and separate the seeds from the stringy pulp. Reserve the seeds. Use a sharp knife to score the neck portion of the squash several times, then rub the flesh with olive oil and season with salt. Roast the squash cut side down on a baking sheet until tender and lightly caramelized, about 1 hour.
In a colander, rinse the reserved seeds and dry with paper towels. Place on a sheet pan and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, until golden and fragrant. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, cayenne pepper, cinnamon and a large pinch of salt. Toss the seeds in the mixture and set aside.
In a medium stockpot set over medium heat, heat about a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the onions, carrots, celery and jalapeño, if using, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring frequently, until the syrup is reduced by two-thirds, about 5 minutes. Remove the stockpot from the heat and set aside.
When the squash is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool briefly. Remove the squash flesh from the skin and mix it into stockpot with the onion and carrot mixture. Return the stockpot to the stove. Turn the heat to medium, add the chicken stock and cream, if using, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Season with the cider vinegar and salt. Serve soup hot with apple, cilantro and toasted seeds.