Michael isn’t a huge fan of butternut squash, but if you browse my archives you’ll see that I have quite a few butternut squash recipes. You might even think I am torturing my poor husband with all the butternut squash, but really I’m not. The sweetness of butternut squash just doesn’t appeal to him, so I try to find ways to spice it up and make it savory. Every once in a while another of my butternut squash soup experiments catches him by surprise and he’ll say he likes it and asks me to make it again. This soup is one those.
I wanted a squash soup with Mexican flair, so I used some of our favorite spices, beans, and corn, and garnished the servings with cilantro and avocado. I held back a little on the chipotle powder since the boys were going to eat it and I didn’t want the soup to be too spicy for them, but if you like the smoky chipotle flavor you could add a little more to taste, or even use a couple chipotles in adobo.
The sweet potato goes in toward the end so it cooks through but still maintains a tender, chunky texture, which we think is a plus.
[Updated December 18, 2010.]
MEXICAN SPICED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP WITH BEANS AND CORN
Makes about 4 quarts.
baking sheet, lined with foil
6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
immersion blender or regular blender
2 (1-pound/454 g) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cups frozen corn kernels, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon annatto powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder
7 cups (1.68 liters) vegetable stock
1 (15-ounce/425 g) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce/425 g) can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 large sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C.
2. Brush some of the olive oil on the lined baking sheet. Place the squash halves cut side down on the sheet and roast in the oven, turning once, until tender and light brown, up to 45 minutes. Cut the roasted squash into 3/4-inch pieces.
3. While the squash roasts, prepare the rest of the ingredients. In the large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onions, 1-1/3 cups of the corn, garlic, chili powder, annatto, cumin, and chipotle powder. Sauté until the onions are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the cooked squash and vegetable stock, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
4. Use the immersion blender to puree the soup in the pot (or blend it in batches in the regular blender, then return to the pot). Add the beans, potato, and remaining corn. Simmer until the beans and potato are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add a little more vegetable stock if the soup is too thick. Add salt to taste. Serve hot with garnishes.