How to Make Smoky Butternut Squash Soup
Is there anything better than a hot bowl of soup on a cold fall day? Sure, a bowl of soup kissed with wood smoke. My wife makes a delicious butternut squash soup that I love. I decided I would try my own version of butternut squash soup. If you have read my past blogs, you know I didn’t just roast the squash in the oven. I used one of my smokers to roast the squash to add a depth of flavor you can’t get from the oven.
Smoky Butternut Squash Soup Recipe
I started by heating up my Big Green Egg XL to 400 degrees and adding a few apple wood chucks to generate wood smoke. I prepared one butternut squash by slicing it lengthwise into halves, then quarters and then removed the seeds. The squash I used was 4 pounds. I quartered one large onion. I then drizzled olive oil over the squash and the quartered onion. I seasoned the squash with a toasted spice rub.
To make the rub, I heated a skillet over medium heat and toasted fennel and coriander seeds with peppercorns for 3 minutes. I then added red pepper flakes and cooked them for an additional 30 seconds. Next, place the mix on a plate to cool. Once completely cooled, grind all ingredients into a powder and then mix with chili powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and kosher salt. I seasoned the onion with freshly cracked pepper and kosher salt.
I placed the squash and onion on a wire rack and then put the rack right on the grate inside the smoker and cooked until the squash was fork tender about 45 minutes. I find using the wire rack makes it easier to move multiple items in and out of the grill all at once.
Next, I chopped up the onion and sautéed it for 5 minutes with fresh ginger, garlic, and fresh herbs in a Dutch Oven (1 tablespoon for fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of garlic, 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage, 1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, and 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary). The herbs were fresh from my garden, and they provide a boost of flavor you can’t get from store-bought herbs. The onions are already cooked, but I wanted to soften the ginger and garlic. I then removed the skin from the squash, cut the squash into 2-inch pieces, and added the squash to the pot. I added 4 cups of my homemade vegetable stock (pre-heated). I seasoned the soup with kosher salt, stirred, and then covered the pot and let it cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. I then used an immersion blender to incorporate all the ingredients. The soup will thicken as you blend it. Add more broth if the soup is too thick. A blender or a food processor will also work.
To finish the soup, I added 1 teaspoon of allspice, the zest of one lemon and one tablespoon of lemon juice and pulsed the soup with the immersion blender. The lemon zest and juice add a freshness to the soup. I poured the soup into a bowl and garnished it with julienned sage, toasted pepitas and a grilled brioche breadstick.
The butternut squash soup was a hit! Roasting the butternut squash created a deep, sweet, and smoky flavor. The lemon zest and juice brighten up the soup. Butternut squash can feel heavy, but I think the addition of the lemon zest and juice lighten up the soup. The toasted spice rub and the allspice at the end add a slight heat and spice to the soup. The roasted pepitas and the grilled breadstick add texture and crunch to the butternut squash soup. The soup is ready to eat now or freeze it and save for a cold fall day.
The butternut squash soup can be enjoyed as a meal, an appetizer, or a side dish. Here is how I would create a whole meal around the butternut squash soup. It can even be done in one smoker. I would season a pork tenderloin with more toasted rub (or use Steven’s Fennel Pepper rub) and then smoke roast the pork alongside the squash. I would heat diced bacon in a cast-iron skillet to render the fat. Next, I would add halved Brussel sprouts to the bacon and toss to coat the Brussel sprouts and roast in the BGE XL until the bacon and the Brussel sprouts are crispy. Finish the sprouts with a squeeze of grilled lemon. The pork tenderloin and Brussel sprouts are the perfect pairings for the smoky butternut squash soup.