Well, Fall is officially upon us. The guys with the makeshift grills who sell corn on the cob all summer have switched over to chestnuts. Winter squash are starting to show up in the market, and despite the gorgeous sunshine, there is a distinct nip in the air. Soup is definitely in order these days.
Hope over at Hopie’s Kitchen has been regaling her readers with tales of her awesome organic farm share basket. If there’s a best time of year to belong to one of these, I think Fall is it. Anyway, she posted a delicious-looking Butternut Squash and Roasted Red Pepper Soup a little while ago, and I wanted to make it, despite the fact that I am not, in general, a fan of bell peppers. Upon reflection, I thought, wouldn’t it be good with the sweet smokiness of charred piquillo peppers?
Never being one to leave recipes alone, I also decided to use a hunk of potiron (a type of pumpkin with very thick flesh and much more flavor than the kind used to make Jack O’ Lanterns) instead of the butternut squash. I roasted it in the oven until it was soft, then scooped out the flesh and added it to my already-simmering pot of onions, piquillos, and chicken stock. I seasoned the soup with salt, pepper, cayenne, nutmeg, and the tiniest hint of cinnamon – just enough to bring out the warm sweetness of the potiron. After simmering it all for about 10 minutes, I busted out the hand blender.
Wearing my new favorite T-shirt, I fearlessly buzzed the soup, knowing that the pot was deep enough to contain any splatters that might occur.
It’s no secret how much I love the immersion blender. Making puréed soups that much easier is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s great for milkshakes, and it even manages to stand in for a food processor on some occasions. But I digress.
Once the soup was nice and smooth, I returned it to a simmer and tasted for seasoning. After making the appropriate adjustments, I finished it with a swirl of cream to mellow and blend the flavors. Perfect! That’s when I spied the pine nuts on the shelf. I knew they would be what sent this soup over the top, so I quickly toasted a handful in a skillet while I sliced strips of the remaining piquillo pepper for garnish.
And wouldn’t you know it – I was right! The soup on its own was great: Deep pumpkin flavor and smoky-sweet peppers made a fabulous partnership. But the toasty crunch of the pine nuts provided textural contrast to the smooth soup and brought it all into focus.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.