Fall is high season for traditional squash and pumpkin soups, but we like to take it in a different direction with some classic Thai flavors that really pop. Thai and Asian cuisine is known for balancing sweet, salty, sour and spicy flavors in the same dish and this flavorful bisque does just that. To make this simple recipe, you’ll need a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven, roasting pan and a food processor or blender.
This simple recipe uses four types of winter squash (butternut, acorn, delicata and sugar pumpkin) to provide an earthy, umami base for the soup. Many creamy pumpkin soups start with sautéeing the squash; however, you may find that roasting it instead, intensifies the flavors. It also happens to be an easier method. Instead of peeling, chopping and sautéeing, you simply halve the squash, remove the seeds and roast until tender. While the squash roasts, you sauté the rest of the vegetables with aromatics like fresh ginger, spicy red chilies, coriander, turmeric, cayenne, a hint of cinnamon and allspice combine for a tongue tingling blend. The overall effect is spicy, but not fiery.
Maple syrup and unsweetened applesauce add a bit of (unconventional) sweetness to the soup and canned coconut milk (not cream of coconut) gives it an Asian bent. Freshly squeezed lime juice gives the luxurious blend a tangy, lively finish.
When it comes to Thai cuisine, don’t forget the garnish. No, not an orchid; instead try a smatter of fresh cilantro, toasted pepita seeds, thinly sliced red chilies and a drizzle of reserved coconut milk. Together, they add texture, splashes of color, and make this velvety soup even more inviting.
1 pound delicata squash
1 pound acorn squash
1 pound butternut squash
1 can pumpkin puree or 1 pound whole sugar pumpkin
2 tablespoons olive oil divided
1 large onion roughly chopped.
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
6 cups low sodium vegetable broth (can use low sodium chicken broth)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 13.5 oz. can coconut milk not “light” (reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish if desired.)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 lime juiced
Drizzle of coconut milk
Red chilies thinly sliced
Salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Discard seeds. Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil over the cut part of the squash and place cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 45-60 minutes or until squash is quite soft.
While the squash is roasting, heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the chopped onion. Cook until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the ginger, cinnamon, allspice, turmeric, coriander, cayenne pepper and kosher salt and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally to bring out the flavors and aromas of the spices.
Remove the roasted squash from oven and let cool until you can safely handle the squash. Scoop the flesh from each of the squash into a large pot or Dutch oven, discarding the skins and stems.
Add the pumpkin puree and onion mixture to the roasted squash. Pour the vegetable broth over the squash and stir to combine. Heat to a boil then reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Stir in the applesauce.
Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender, being careful not to fill the container more than half full, to avoid scalding splatters and burns. (You can also use a stick blender and puree the soup in the pot.)
Return the squash soup to the pot and stir in the coconut milk, lime juice and maple syrup. Taste for seasonings and adjust to your tastes.
Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with a sprinkle of pepitas, fresh cilantro, red chilies, a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of coconut milk. Enjoy!
Thank you to Lisa Lotts from Garlic & Zest for the recipe.