Susan Spungen’s Easy Autumn Squash Soup

An easy, colorful dish embracing the best of fall.
Squash Soup

Photograph courtesy of Susan Spungen.

AUTUMN SQUASH SOUP

The time for Susan’s seafood stew has come and gone. Luckily, she has supplied a replacement. As the leaves turn orange, so must the color of your hearty supper. Trade your shellfish for a gourd or two and take some time to enjoy this quintessential fall soup.

Ingredients

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

4 tbsp. olive oil, divided

1 small onion, peeled and sliced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 to 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced (about 1 c.)

1 stalk celery, sliced (about ¾ c.)

1 large leek, sliced and washed (about 2 c.)

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks, or a 20-oz. package of peeled squash

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

1 tsp. smoked paprika

2 to 4 tbsp. heavy cream or milk

Instructions

In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, then stir in the onion and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook about 5 minutes, until the onion and garlic start to soften. Add the carrots, celery, leek, rosemary, and more salt and pepper to taste and cook 5 minutes longer, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften.

Add the squash and stock and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covered so that the liquid collected inside the lid is retained in the pot. Cook 30 to 40 minutes, or until squash is soft. To test, press a piece of squash against the side of the pot: It should easily dissolve. Let soup cool for a while in the pot, uncovered.

While the soup is cooling, make the toasted pepitas. Pour the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil into a small (8″) skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the pepitas and cook until they sizzle and pop and start to brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, scoop the seeds onto paper towels and sprinkle with salt. Pour the oil into a small bowl, stir in the paprika, and set aside.

Once the soup has cooled slightly, transfer half the contents of the pot to a blender and puree until smooth. Pour it into a clean pot, then puree the remaining mixture and add it to the pot. When ready to serve, reheat the soup and add heavy cream or milk as needed to thin it to the desired consistency. (Stock or water is just fine, too.) Season to taste with more salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls and top each with a sprinkle of pepitas and a drizzle of paprika oil. Serves 4 to 6.