Spicy Butternut Soup with Walnut Parmesan Crisp Recipe
Sinkology is proud to present Emily Schuermann, our food-loving guest blogger who runs Food for a Year. Emily is here to share some recipes she has created exclusively for the Sinkology blog that reflect her view of a copper sink: simple, timeless, affordable, and beautifully rustic.
Whether you use pumpkin or your favorite autumn/winter squash, this simple, tasty soup is sure to invite fall into your home. I always love cooking with butternut squash because of it’s ability to stay firm yet creamy without becoming stringy. Handling a butternut squash can be a little difficult, but I have a few tips that make the process much easier.
First, pick a medium-sized butternut squash with a small seed end. A squash with a small seed end ((the rounder end where all of the seeds are stored)) may not be any easier to handle, but it will give you more edible squash. Next, cut off both ends and then cut the squash in half. This gives flat ends to work with and makes the whole process much safer.
A vegetable peeler is often recommended for peeling the tough skin off of the squash but I find that it doesn’t get completely through the tough skin. I end up having to peel the butternut squash twice, first removing the tough outer skin and then removing the fibrous layer beneath the skin. That is a pain in my books. Instead, I stand the squash on it’s end and chip the skin off by using a sharp knife.
Once the skin is removed, slice the squash.
All that’s left is to chop the slices
I prefer a small dice because it roasts in the oven faster. But you may prefer a bite-sized dice. Either size of diced winter squash works great for this soup.
Continue prepping ingredients for the soup by dicing a medium onion.
In addition to the winter ((butternut)) squash, diced white onion and several varieties of peppers add a great burst of flavor to this creamy soup. To really maximize flavors, all of these veggies get oven roasted before being added to the soup. Oven roasting gives the veggies a slightly smoky flavor and also brings out the natural sweetness of the vegetables.
Once the veggies are roasted, simply remove the skins of the peppers by placing them inside a paper or plastic bag, sealing and allowing the peppers to rest for a few minutes. This will cause the skins of the peppers to release from the flesh.
After 2 or 3 minutes, peel the peppers and discard the skins & seeds.
Then slice & dice the peppers. I kept some of the seeds for a little extra heat.
Once all of the veggies are prepped, this soup is assembled in under 20 minutes. Start off by browning a handful of sage leaves in butter.
Once the butter is browned and the leaves are crisp, remove the leaves (setting aside for a garnish) and reduce the flame to low.
Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic to the browned butter, allowing the garlic to cook and soften sightly. You definitely want to keep a close eye at this moment — garlic can burn in a flash. Burned garlic would add a noticeable flavor to that nutty, sage browned butter — and by noticeable, I mean obvious in the worst possible way.
Next, add 1½ quarts of heavy whipping cream and 1 quart of chicken stock. Bring the liquid to a simmer, keeping the flame low enough so that the soup never reaches a rolling boil.
While the soup is simmering, combine ¾ c cornstarch with 1 c water. Stir until the cornstarch is completely incorporated into the water. While stirring, pour the cornstarch slurry into the soup. Add all of the roasted veggies, along with a short list of seasonings and continue stirring over medium-low to medium flame until the desired thickness has been reached.
One teaspoon of chili powder, a pinch of saffron and sea salt & pepper is all that’s need to finish off the flavors of this perfect fall soup. The saffron is a luxury that can totally be omitted, but if you happen to have some on hand, this is a perfect way to use it! Saffron adds a gorgeous pale, golden orange hue which nicely accentuates the butternut squash in this soup.
After the soup has thickened, and been seasoned to perfection, toast a cup of walnuts tossed in grated parmesan cheese and sea salt & pepper.
This walnut parmesan crisp garnish will add the perfect amount to salty crunch to each bowl of soup.
Serve with a side of warm spicy kale salad or a wedge of warm crusty bread.
Simple, beautiful comfort food that satisfies – this spicy butternut soup brings just the right amount of warmth to the dinner table for these chilly Autumn evenings. In the same way, Sinkology’s copper farmhouse kitchen sink effortlessly brings such beauty and warmth into my kitchen — all year long!
- 8-10 sage leaves
- 2 T salted butter
- 6 c diced butternut squash*
- 2 c white onion, diced
- 2-4 medium roasted jalapeno peppers, peeled & seeded (leave some seeds for additional heat)
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
- 2 T canola oil
- s &p
- 2 T fresh garlic, diced
- 1 ½ qt cream
- 1 qt chicken broth (or ¼ c chicken base and 1 qt water)
- ¾ c cornstarch
- 1 c water
- 1 t chili powder (more or less depending on your heat preference)
- a pinch of saffron, optional
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 c walnut halves
- ¼ - ½ c grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 400°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a single layer, place diced squash & onions and peppers onto the lined baking sheets. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through.
- While the veggies are roasting, in a 7-9 qt soup pot, brown the butter & sage leaves over medium flame. Once the sage is browned and crisp, remove them from the butter and drain on a folded paper towel.
- Reduce the flame to medium-low and add the diced garlic, stirring into the butter for about one minute. Be careful that the garlic doesn't burn.
- Add cream and stock, stir and increase the flame to medium, medium high. Stir frequently until the liquid reaches a low simmer and then return the flame to medium low.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine water and cornstarch. Stir. Once the cornstarch is completely incorporated into the water, pour the cornstarch slurry into the cream/stock and increase the flame to medium. Stir continuously until the soup is thickened to your desired consistency.
- Add chili powder and saffron, stirring to combine.
- When the veggie roasting is complete, place the peppers into a paper or plastic bag, closing the bag. Set aside for 2-4 minutes, allowing the steam to release the skins from the flesh of the peppers. Remove the peppers from the bag, remove the skins and seeds** and dice the peppers.
- Add the peppers along with the roasted butternut squash and onions to the soup.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook over medium-low flame, stirring occasionally.
- To prepare the crisp, turn the oven off and then place walnuts on a small baking sheet. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Place the walnuts in the oven for 3 minutes. Once toasting time is complete, remove the walnuts from the oven and allow them to cool slightly.
- Serve soup and top with a few crisped sage leaves and a spoonful of the walnut parmesan crisp.
- Serves 12
- *I used a small dice for the butternut squash which required a shorter roasting time. If you prefer a larger, bite-sized dice, increase roasting time to 40 minutes. Also, pre-diced butternut squash is available in the produce section of most grocery stores.
- **If you prefer a spicier soup, leave some or most of the seeds.
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