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Winter squash soup with mint and red chili

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

This is a wonderful spiced soup that will keep your soul warm during the winter months. I used a local squash aptly referred to as the "disco pumpkin", small, bright orange with a mild, sweet flavorful flesh, these are almost too cute to eat! This delicate squash was perfect in this soup. You can substitute any yellow/orange pumpkin of your choice.

For those of us who do not know the difference between a squash and a pumpkin, here is a great article The sweetness of the pumpkin is enhanced by the spices and herbs allowing the soup to pop. I recommend using a touch of spice as they will tend to overwhelm the mild pumpkin. I also puréed the soup, although the chef gives a version of the soup with a chunky texture. The reason I chose to purée the soup was laziness, I did not want to wait for another 15-20 minutes for the pumpkin pieces to start breaking down. After you purée the soup, for the smooth version, check the consistency, I like the soup to heavily coat a spoon, but adjust to your preference. I topped the soup with Turkish maras peppers, a deep red mild Turkish pepper that has a fabulous flavor. However, you can use the more common Aleppo pepper or regular mild chilli flakes/

This is probably my favorite Deborah Madison cookbook, and yes I do have almost all her fabulous cookbooks. The recipes, like this soup, are quite unique and full of flavors. I recommend any of her cookbooks, but this one stands out on my bookshelf.

For more delicious dished from this cookbook, click here.


2 pounds or more winter yellow squash such as butternut, or your choice

2 tablespoons light sesame or olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped basil

1 teaspoon dried mint

A pinch ground cinnamon

Sea salt to taste

1 teaspoons ground red chile powder

4 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock or water

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground black peppercorns,

A pinch ground cloves

2 tablespoons heavy cream

Thinly sliced mint leaves, to garnish

Red pepper flakes, to garnish

Peel the squash and cut the flesh into cubes; you should have about 2 cups. If you plan to serve the soup without pureeing it, cut the squash fairly neatly into scant 1/2-inch cubes so they fit easily into a soup spoon (and cut onion neatly too).

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the squash, onion, basil, and mint and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. Add the spices, 1 teaspoon salt, and chile to taste, and sauté for 30 seconds. Bring to a boil, lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook, partially covered, until the squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes, depending on the size of the cubes. You can continue to simmer the soup for the pumpkins to start breaking down at this stage, if you want a chunky version of this soup.

At this point you can serve the squash chunky with the cream and slivered mint in each bowl. Or you can puree the soup. Stir in the cream, leaving it streaky, and ladle the soup into bowls. Finish each serving with fresh mint and a pinch of chile powder.

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