Using homemade vegetable stock as the base, this hearty golden soup is flavor-filled with leeks, parsley, and thyme, topped with a balsamic glaze and roasted pumpkin seeds. It’s surprisingly light yet satiating at the same time.
Ingredients (serves 6-8 people)
- one 3.5-4 lb. butternut squash
- 1 medium leek
- 1 small yellow onion
- 1 medium shallot
- 3 medium cloves garlic
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 6 cups homemade very low-sodium vegetable stock
- black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- extra virgin olive oil
- 3-4 sprigs parsley
- 2-3 sprigs thyme
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- small bunch of chives
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- Heat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the neck off of the squash and set aside. Cut the base in half through the root and scoop out the seeds. Put 1-2 sage sprigs in each half, lightly rub in olive oil, put on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, 45-60 minutes. Cool the squash down, discard the sage, and scoop out the flesh and set aside.
- Peel the next of the squash and cut into 1/2” pieces. Cut the root off of the leek(s) and remove the dark green leaves, keeping only the very light-green and white parts. Take off the outer layer. Cut the leek(s) in half vertically, then into half-moon slices about 1/2” wide. Soak the leek pieces in a bowl of water for 5 minutes, then lift them out (don’t pour them out) and place them in a colander to drain. Cut the onion, shallot, and carrot into a 1/2” dice. Smash the garlic cloves and roughly chop. Wrap the parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns in a bundle of cheesecloth and tie with a string. If you don’t have cheesecloth, omit the peppercorns, and tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaves in a string bundle.
- Add 2-3 Tablespoons of olive oil to a dutch oven or soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, shallot, carrot, garlic, and sweat for 5-8 minutes until translucent. Add the diced squash and cook for 4-5 minutes more. Add the honey/maple syrup and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add the stock and herb bundle, turn the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat until the water is barely at a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes until the squash pieces are tender.
- Add the roasted squash to the soup pot and simmer for another 30 minutes. Remove the herb bundle. Add about 3-4 Tablespoons of olive oil, and blend the soup in batches (or with a stick blender) until smooth. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
For balsamic reduction
- Put the balsamic vinegar in a small pot over very low heat. Keep the vinegar on the heat until it has reduced to a semi-thick sauce. Make sure the vinegar never comes to a boil – it can burn very easily. This will take several hours. Once it starts to thicken, keep an eye on it and swirl it around semi-regularly. It will continue to thicken off of the heat, so pull it off when it is just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
For the pumpkin seeds
- Heat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the seeds into a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast for 3-6 minutes until toasted. Be careful not to burn. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
- Ladle soup into each bowl. Add a swirl of balsamic reduction, a few pinches of toasted pumpkin seeds, and a sprinkle of finely chopped chives.
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Nutrition information per serving (1/8 of recipe):
226 calories, 12 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 10 g sugar (includes 2 g added sugar),191 mg sodium, 854 mg potassium, 8 g fat (2 g sat, 3 g mono, 3 g poly, 0 g trans), 0 mg cholesterol
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