I have been very attracted lately to soup recipes that are made rich by the addition of nuts rather than cream. Last winter I made two soups that were enriched with cashew cream (curried broccoli soup and cream of mushroom soup). I have plans to try a hazelnut mushroom soup and potato almond soup in the near future. This soup has toasty richness from walnuts, buttery sweetness from the squash and a little bit of acidity from the orange. It is a very satisfying winter lunch with a piece of toasted gluten-free dark sourdough bread slathered with parsley butter or biscuits right out of the oven. Like many other soups, this one tastes better after sitting around for a while. I make a big batch and freeze half of it for later. This soup is one of many recipes on this blog that is based on a recipe that I got from my parent’s friend Keith.
- 1 Tablespoon butter (oil would be fine too)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1 small or half of a large kabocha pumpkin or butternut squash (32 ounces to 1 Kg)
- One large orange, zested and juiced
- 5 cups stock (I used Turkey stock leftover from Thanksgiving, but home-made chicken stock would also be delicious)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 cup shelled walnuts (halves and pieces are fine)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley and more walnuts for garnish (optional)
- In a large soup pot, saute the onion and garlic in butter or oil until the onions turn a bit golden.
- Add the pumpkin, orange juice, orange zest, stock, nutmeg and thyme and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about half an hour or until the squash is very soft. While it cooks, toast the nuts.
- Toast the walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, keeping an eye on them to be sure that they do not burn. You could also put them on a baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350.
- When the squash is soft, scoop out the sprigs of thyme (if using fresh) and discard them. Throw the toasted nuts into the pot and use a submersion blender to process the soup until it is totally smooth. Don’t give up when the texture is a bit grainy from the walnuts, keep blending until the soup is smooth and creamy. You could also let the soup cool and process it in batches in a blender, instead.
- Once the soup is smooth, gently reheat it and season it with salt and pepper. If you are using homemade, unsalted stock you will want to add quite a bit of salt or the flavours will seem oddly sweet.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and walnuts (if you like) and serve hot.
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