By Riki Shore
I’ve been dreaming about this soup ever since I bought Something Sweet Autumnal Spice Blend at the Spice Station in Silverlake. It’s a proprietary blend of warming spices including sassafras, cinnamon, mace, and a smoky Turkish chile pepper called urfa biber. As soon as I smelled the mix at the store I thought of butternut squash and grown-up oatmeal cookies with golden raisins.
It took me a while to get around to making the soup, which is crazy since it’s such an easy recipe. If you have chicken stock on hand, and you roast the squash in advance, the soup comes together in under an hour. It makes great leftovers, too, as most soups do, since the flavors intensify and meld overnight.
I topped our dinner bowls of soup with crispy pancetta cubes and fried onions. The saltiness of the pancetta was a delicious counterpoint to the sultry smokiness of the spice blend. It’d also be great with toasted coconut flakes, chopped cilantro, or chopped roasted cashews.
I’ll get to work sooner or later on the oatmeal cookies. For now, go make yourself some soup – you won’t be disappointed.
1/2 butternut squash
1 yellow onion
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Something Sweet Autumnal Spice Blend
1 dried red chile
4 cups chicken stock
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the squash cut side down on a sheet tray and roast for 40 minutes, until soft. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and set aside.
2. Peel and roughly chop the onion and apple. Heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat in a soup pot. Add the onion, apple, salt, and pepper. Saute for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is very soft.
3. Add the cooked squash, spice blend and dried red chile to the pot and stir to combine. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, about 20 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, chop the pancetta into 1/4-inch cubes. Slice the onion thinly. Heat a small amount of olive oil or butter in a small pan over medium heat. Cook the pancetta and onion until they are slightly browned and crispy, reducing the heat if necessary. Set aside.
5. Remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly, at least 15 minutes. Remove the dried chile. Using an immersion or stick blender, blend the soup until completely smooth. (You can also do this using a food processor, but allow the soup to cool further before blending.)
6. Add more stock or water if necessary to get the desired thickness. Reheat over medium-low heat. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with pancetta and fried onions.
Here are some more soup recipes for you to try: