Usually butternut squash is my go to winter squash for soups. It’s so easy to peel, reliable in the garden, long storing and tasty. But we had a bumper crop of sweet dumpling squash this year. These little “personal” sized squash are equally delicious, but they don’t store quite as long as butternut. I had about a dozen sweet dumplings in a basket on the counter that looked like they should have been used up by new year’s. So off to the soup pot they went (by way of the oven).
I normally don’t roast squash for soup since I’m usually making meals at the last minute, and that is an extra step, but I had roasted all the sweet dumplings so that I would have abundant squash on hand, roasted, for eating and using in cooking. Plus, squash with ridges are a pain to peel, so roasting is a great first step to be able to easily scoop out the creamy flesh sans peel (though you can eat the peel on this squash -it’s very thin).
To roast sweet dumplings or other squash, cut the squash in two around the “waist.” If handling knives and squash is not one of your skills, here is a tip to keep from chopping your fingers off. Use a large chef’s knife and gently stick the tip into the “waist.” Then lever the knife around the waistline letting the knife serve as a wedge to pop the squash open. Don’t try to saw or hack it open. Scary!
To roast squash: heat your oven to 400. Rub a baking sheet with olive oil. Put the squash face down. I don’t bother to scoop out the seeds. It’s easier when they’re roasted anyway. Roast 20 minutes or so until a fork pierces the outside of the squash easily. Remove from heat and scoop out the seeds, then scoop out the flesh into a measuring glass.
Sweet Dumpling Squash Soup
1 large butternut squash or 10 sweet dumpling squash, roasted or peeled (about 4 cups roasted/mashed)
butter and olive oil (about a tablespoon minimum each)
1 large onion, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
thyme, dried or fresh, to taste (I add about 1/2t dried)
sage, dried for fresh, to taste (I added about teaspoon dried)
1 quart stock (I use a homemade unsalted rooster stock. If using store bought stock, take care with how much salt you add).
fresh cream, optional
maple syrup, optional
- Heat butter and olive oil in a pot. Add chopped onions and salt and saute until tender. Add garlic, thyme, sage. Saute for another few minutes, adding vermouth, wine, cider, stock, water or other liquid if the pan gets dry.
- Add squash and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer till flavors are melded (or the squash is soft if you’re using raw squash). Puree. Reheat and adjust seasoning. Drizzle with cream and maple syrup. I usually don’t add syrup since I find squash is sweet already, but if your squash is not very flavorful, then the syrup can be a nice addition.