This butternut squash soup is quite different than the usual super-sweet squash soup you find on many restaurant menus. With roasted poblano peppers and chipotle powder, it has a smoky, spicy attitude that will surprise you on the first bite.
The cashew cream topping, with a strong shot of lemon, is the perfect accompaniment.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 serrano peppers, diced
2 carrots, chopped (about 1½ cups)
2 stalks celery (about 1 cup)
2 medium onions chopped
1 poblano pepper, roasted, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
pinch ground coriander
1 teaspoon chili powder, preferably ancho
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder or ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 7-8 cups)
8 cups vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the cashew cream topping:
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight or for at least a few hours
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ cup water
Drain the cashews and place them in a food processor with lemon juice, water and salt. Process until very smooth (this will take about 5 minutes with a regular food processor). Season with salt to taste.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pot. Saute the garlic, serranos, carrots, celery and onions for 4 minutes. Add the roasted poblanos and spices and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
Add the butternut squash and stock. Bring to a boil. Partially cover, reduce heat and simmer until the squash is quite tender, about 30-40 minutes. Let cool for 20 minutes then puree in a food processor or blender until very smooth (a blender will give you a smoother result). Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Serve with a dollop of cashew cream.
Photo credit: Cathy