Nothing says autumn quite like a warming bowl of pumpkin or butternut squash soup. Stock up on seasonal fare then try these hearty, homemade recipes.
Now that autumn is in full swing, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of delightfully warming soup to lift the spirits. Along with the likes of hearty lasagne and creamy risotto, it consistently ranks highly in our little black book of meals that unfailingly bring comfort during the colder months.
One of the best things about soup is that it only requires a few ingredients. That’s great for when you haven’t the time for a big shop, or you’ve finished a long day of work and need something satisfying on the table sharpish. It’s also a ideal way to use the colourful root vegetables that come into their own in October, such as beetroot, squash and October’s main star, pumpkin. We’re not saying your meals have to be coordinated with the colours of the season – but if you do have an eye for a pleasingly pretty bowl, you couldn’t get any closer to capturing autumn than with these gloriously golden veggies.
With that in mind, we’ve three delicious pumpkin and butternut squash soup recipes for a suitably autumnal culinary experience. Belinda Williams’ silky pumpkin soup finished with cep mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil elevates a traditional recipe to something really special. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe, you can customise to your heart’s content.
When you’ve a little more time on your hands to get experimental, Katy Holder’s beautifully warming Thai-style pumpkin soup borrows inspiration from Asian cuisine with the aromatic flavours of lime and lemongrass.
And if you can’t get your hands on a pumpkin (or simply prefer butternut squash), Stephen and Anastasia Argent’s hearty soup has a wonderful depth of flavour, cleverly balanced with a hint of sweet apple. Serve with slices of melted cheese on toast and get dunking…
Belinda Williams’ pumpkin soup with cep mushrooms recipe
Belinda says: “This is deliciously rich and smooth soup with a colour of deep vibrant gold. I had a similar dish at a Gordon Ramsay restaurant as an amuse bouche, and that is where the idea came from. This is less rich, but every bit as delicious and surprising. The silky nature of the cep works so well with the smooth soup. Truffle oil finishes this off and elevates it from the everyday to something really special – but this is at your discretion.”
- 50g butter
- 2 white onions, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded and diced
- ½ butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
- 1.5 litres vegetable stock
- 2 cep mushrooms, finely sliced
- 200ml double cream
- sea salt and ground black pepper
For the garnish:
- truffle oil, for drizzling (optional)
- chopped fresh parsley
- fresh thyme leaves
Melt about three-quarters of the butter in a large saucepan and cook the onions, garlic, pumpkin and squash until soft. Add the stock to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the pumpkin and squash are cooked. Take the pan off the heat and blitz the mixture to a purée with a stick blender.
In a frying pan, heat the remaining butter and fry the ceps very gently for a few minutes, until softened but without colouring. Add the ceps to the soup and stir in the cream, then season to taste with salt and black pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and thyme leaves and a little drizzle of truffle oil, if you wish.
From Delicious Soups: Fresh and Hearty Soups for Every Occasion by Belinda Williams (£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small), out now
Stephen and Anastasia Argent’s roasted butternut squash and apple soup recipe
Stephen and Anastasia say: “Nothing is more autumnal than a deliciously ripe butternut squash. Roasting the squash until the edges are ever so slightly crisp and burnt adds a warming depth of flavour and toastiness to this soup. Choose the apple according to the level of sweetness you prefer.”
- ½ butternut squash (320g), or squash of your choice, peeled, deseeded and cut into 2.5-cm cubes
- 4 medium carrots (320g), peeled and chopped into rounds
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- 4 medium onions (320g), chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 800ml vegetable stock
- 4 eating apples (320g) such as pink lady or golden delicious, peeled, cored and sliced
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- sweet potato chips
Preheat the oven to 240°C/220°C fan/475°F/gas mark 9 and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Arrange the chopped butternut squash and carrots on the baking tray in one even layer. Drizzle over 1 tablespoon of the oil and scatter over the nutmeg, along with some salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables have started to crisp up.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions turn translucent and are beginning to caramelise. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in the vegetable stock, increase the heat and bring to the boil for 30 seconds. Partially cover the saucepan with a lid and reduce the heat to a simmer and add the apple pieces. Simmer for a further 2 minutes.
Carefully add the roasted vegetables to the saucepan, partially cover with the lid once more and continue to simmer for a further 3 minutes. Take off the heat and blend with a hand blender or in a food processor until completely smooth.
Top with sweet potato chips, serve and enjoy!
From Soupologie 5 A Day Soups: Your 5 A Day In One Bowl by Stephen and Anastasia Argent (£16.99, Kyle Books), out now
Katy Holder’s Thai-style pumpkin soup recipe
Katy says: “Pumpkin soup with a twist! This classic soup gets a delicious makeover with the addition of aromatic Thai flavours: lime leaves, lemongrass and lime juice.”
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
- 2 butternut squash, about 3kg peeled, seeded and chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- 1 lemongrass stem, bruised
- 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 270ml tin coconut cream
- 1 tbsp mild Thai red curry paste
- 875ml good quality vegetable stock
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp Thai sweet chilli sauce
- coriander leaves, to garnish
- 1 long red chilli, thinly sliced
Put the pumpkin and onion into a slow cooker with the lime leaves, lemongrass, ginger and soy sauce.
Reserve 2 tablespoons of the coconut cream, then mix the curry paste with the remaining coconut cream until smooth. Pour over the pumpkin mixture, then pour in the stock and gently mix together.
Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the pumpkin is tender. Set aside to cool slightly. Remove the lime leaves and lemongrass stem.
Purée the mixture until smooth, using a stick blender, food processor or blender. Stir in the lime juice and sweet chilli sauce.
Ladle into bowls and drizzle with the reserved coconut cream. Serve garnished with the coriander and chilli.
Tip: This soup can be frozen. Allow the soup to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Label and date the container and freeze for up to 6 months.
From Slow Cooker Vegetarian: Healthy And Wholesome, Comforting And Convenient by Katy Holder (£17.99, Murdoch Books), out now
Photography: Steve Painter; Alan Benson; Tamin Jones
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.