Butternut squash, pumpkin, butternut squash, pumpkin…after awhile, all that squash and pumpkin kind of looks and tastes the same. Which is why I came up with this slight variation on a classic butternut squash soup: same roasted butternut squash, but with a Middle Eastern twist.
And I must give credit where it is due. While I am pretty picky about my cookbooks, especially kosher cookbooks, I do love Saffron Shores which inspired this soup recipe.
The key to making this soup is roasting the butternut squash with the harissa on top to really add depth of flavor. What is harissa? It’s a Middle Eastern spice blend traditionally made with dried chilis, coriander and cumin. I added some fresh lemon juice and zest to add brightness.
If you make the soup pareve for a dairy meal, I highly suggest serving it with some thick Greek yogurt or labne, fresh pita chips and a drizzle of olive oil.
1 large butternut squash
2 medium sized parsnips, peeled and cubed
1 tsp harissa
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves
1 small onion, diced
2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
Greek yogurt or labne (optional)
pita chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the butternut squash in half length-wise, and lay out on a baking sheet covered with foil.
In a small bowl, mix together harissa, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil. Spread spice mixture onto squash using a pastry brush or fingers until evenly coated. Save a little of the mixture to also coat parsnips. Add parsnips and garlic cloves to baking sheet and cook 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until squash is fork tender.
While squash is roasting, heat olive oil in a saucepan and sauté onion until translucent; add garlic for last 3 minutes.
When squash is finished roasting and has cooled around 20 minutes, scoop out flesh and place into blender or food processor along with parsnips, sauteed onion and small amounts of stock. Puree in batches until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for this step.
Put pureed squash mixture back into saucepan, and heat through with stock. Allow to simmer on low for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.