Once it's fall, you're looking at several months of squash in your Imperfect box. This glut of seasonal gourds can be overwhelmingly repetitive or delicious depending on how awesome your soup game is. We love this soup because of how the sweet spices bring the flavor of the squash to life. Also, if you're looking to take your homemade stock on a flavorful test drive, seasonal soups like this one are the way to do it.
- 2 lbs (or more of Imperfect squash) such as Butternut, Acorn, or Sugar Pie pumpkins
- 2 Tbsp Imperfect olive oil
- 1 Imperfect onion, chopped
- 2 Tbsp basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp mint, chopped
- 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 1/2 tsp chile powder
- 4 c vegetable stock (ideally homemade!)
- 12 coriander seeds, 12 black peppercorns, and 4 whole cloves, all tied in a cheesecloth pouch. NOTE: We know that not everyone has limitless amounts of cheesecloth and free time. Feel free to just use 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp of ground cloves.
- 2 Tbsp heavy cream
- A handful of sliced mint for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast on a baking sheet until soft, about 35 minutes.
- After it cools slightly, remove the squash from the skin and measure out about 2 cups worth. In a soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, basil, and mint and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes. Then add the cinnamon stick and the chile powder, followed by the stock, the spices, and salt to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the flavors have melded. Remove the cinnamon stick and the spice pouch (if using) and puree until smooth. Reheat the soup gently, then stir in the cream.
- Serve with a topping of fresh mint.
Even with a simple soup like this, if you know how to adjust the spices and backup ingredients, it's really hard to get bored! Try using coconut milk instead of cream for a Thai variation, roasting the squash with garam masala for an Indian version, or using a few chipotle peppers for a Mexican one. While this soup is particularly delicious with squash or pumpkin, this format of soup can be applied to almost any vegetable in your box. Whether you're trying to figure out how to use celery root or just use up all of your parsnips, roasting them and then pureeing them with stock and aromatic spices is a great way to go.