Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Roasted Pecan & Acorn Squash Soup



Autumn is my favorite time for soup. I know winter is the coldest and most soup-oriented, but I love the flavors of fall and squash soups are pretty much the tastiest thing ever. The origin of this particular soup goes back a couple weeks, when I agreed to participate in an ingredient challenge. I've always been a huge fan of the show Iron Chef, and love the idea of being spurred to come up with something creative based on specific set of must-use ingredients, so when I was approached by McCormick to come up with something for their Go4Gourmet challenge, I immediately accepted. The items I had to include in this recipe were acorn squash, honey, pecans, and ground chipotle chili powder. A very interesting set of flavors, indeed. There were a lot of ways the recipe could have gone, both sweet and savory, but I decided to go with a soup due to the changing winds of fall and my love of liquified and pureed squash.


I roasted the squash and the nuts separately, and then pureed them in a blender along with some chicken broth, honey, and seasonings. After that I warmed it up over the stovetop and added a dash of cream and parmesan cheese. I was originally planning on putting in more cream but the nuts really added a wonderful creamy element to the soup so I ended up putting in a lot less, and if you want to be a bit healthier you could definitely cut out the cream entirely and still not loose out on that rich warm flavor.


Once all of the ingredients were combined and I tepidly scooped my spoon into the pot for a taste, I was blown away by the depth of flavor of the soup. The roasted pecans added a wonderfully rich and subtle toasted element, almost smokey even. The honey really enhanced the flavor of the pecans and paired incredibly well with the nutty roasted acorn squash.


The chipotle powder added a very subtle kick and another smokey element to the mixture, and the cream and parmesan rounded it out with some extra richness and saltiness. If you wanted to make it vegan, however, you could definitely leave out both those last two and just add more salt to taste, since parmesan is a very salty cheese and not including it in the soup will reduce the sodium content.





Also, Jeremy helped me make a little video for this post, which is the first one I've done like this. We had a lot of fun putting it together, I hope you enjoy it!


Ingredients:

Roast Pecan & Acorn Squash Soup

1 large acorn squash, cut in half and with seed pulp removed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 and 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet chipotle chile pepper, plus more for garnish
1 cup chopped pecans, plus a few individual pieces set aside for garnish
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup parmesan
1/4 cup cream, plus a tablespoon or two for garnish


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle the inside of the squash with the olive oil and rub it down with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of the chipotle chili powder. Place it on a baking sheet with the insides facing up and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until safe to handle. While it's cooling, sprinkle the pecans on a baking sheet in an even layer and roast them in the oven (still at 375 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.


Once the squash has cooled down a bit, scoop out the soft flesh with a large metal spoon and place it in a blender or food processor. Add the pecans, honey, chicken or vegetable broth, and the remaining spices. Blend at high speed until a smooth puree forms, about 1 minute.


Pour the mixture into a medium-sized pot and warm over medium heat. Add the cream and parmesan and stir until combined. Continue heating the soup for 15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until nice and hot. Taste and add more salt, pepper, or chipotle if desired. Scoop out into individual bowls for serving and garnish with a teaspoon of cream, a pecan, and a sprinkle of black pepper and ground chipotle chili.



49 comments:

  1. Eva, this is absolutely gorgeous. Your photos make me want to rush into the kitchen every time. I've no doubt this'll be another winner in this household :)

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    1. Thank you, Ffion! That makes me so happy to hear. You are very kind :)

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  2. Fall soups are where it's at. And pecans in soup?! YES. Pecans add an incredible depth to anything, I think. They're so sweet that I've never thought to put them into a particularly savory recipe, but squash and pecans make such a great match! And the chipotle for heat...yum. This is a beautiful recipe--I know I say that every time you post, but it's always the case! And that video is fantastic. Did you and Jeremy both study film in college? I hope you can make more videos. I'm not usually a big fan of them, but I really love the one you've made! We had roasted acorn squash for dinner last weekend and ended up filling it with apples (fresh picked from the orchard!) and raisins. I thought it was going to be too sweet for a main course, but it worked out pretty well. We balanced it with some Swiss chard stewed in tomatoes with cayenne. Fall is here. I love fall food!

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    1. Yeah I was completely blown away by how delicious roasted pecans are. I'd never just roasted them myself and them popped a few of them, but my God they were delicious! And they made the kitchen smell SO good. The flavor combinations in the soup were just wonderful, definitely going to be making this one again once it gets even chillier :) And I'm so glad you liked the video, I had a fun time making it, I'm hoping to do one a month(isn) but we'll see. Like to keep them short and sweet :)

      And filling the squash up with raisins and apples sounds so good! I'm going to have to try that with the kabocha squash I have sitting around, since they're pretty similar. I love how warty-looking kabocha is, such a fun and funky-looking vegetable. Perfect for the month of Halloween!

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  3. What an ode to fall! Fantastic recipe and beautiful photos!

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  4. Suzanne of Simply Suzannes at Home

    You've mesmerized me with your dreamy photographs . . . and your soup sounds (and looks) divine.
    I will definitely make it . . . soon!
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Have a beautiful week,
    Suzanne

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    1. That is very sweet of you, Suzanne! You have a great week as well :)

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  5. I can't get over how beautiful your pictures, the lighting, the steam everything works in unison here.
    The soup looks like a perfect fall soup. Love everything about this post.

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    1. Awwww thanks so much Asha! I am so very flattered! :)

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  6. Welcome to Fall! This is fantastic!

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  7. Can't wait to try this! I make so many squash soups each fall that I get to a point where they all run together, but this one looks really unqiue with the pecans. Beautiful pictures too!

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    1. Thank you Rachael! It is definitely a squash sup unto itself, the roasted pecans add a wonderful flavor to the dish.

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  8. I love the video!! I'd watch it just to listen to that song...so nice! Plus, this soup recipe is killer - great combo of flavours!

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    1. I love that song, too! It's the band Mountain Man. They just have the most amazing voices...

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  9. Sweet squash and tasty pecans sound like a great combination for a fall soup! NOM.

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    1. I couldn't agree more :) Thank you Eileen!!

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    1. Awww thank you Susan! You are very kind :)

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  11. omg where can I get this amazing grey cup?

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    1. Hi Katrin! Its a boulder mug, they're available online through a lot of retailers but I know that Shop Terrain sells them for sure :)

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  12. Your photos are just so cozy :) I love it! This soup sounds fantastic, I am dying to get a taste

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    1. Awww thank you!! It is so rich and tasty!

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  13. I've always loved your photos... and I have to say that video – somehow all the slow motion made it really sexy! haha loved it!

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    1. Hahaha, fantastic! I am a huge fan of slow-mo cooking shots :)

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  14. New to your site! I just love it--your photographs are brilliant. They evoke so much emotion. And the video?! Fabulous! Can't wait to stick around.

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    1. Thank you so much Laura, that makes me very happy to hear! :D

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  15. Eva, this soup looks amazing! Pecans are my favorite nut and I love acorn squash. I also really enjoyed the video! :)

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    1. Thanks Pujat!! I had so much fun making it!

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  16. I've never added nuts to a pureed soup before, so I can only imagine how incredible this tastes. Roasted pecans are one of my favorite fall treats. And the photos and video here are GORGEOUS!

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    1. I never had either, but I thought of pesto and how great walnuts work in that, so I figured I might as well try it in a thick soup and it ended up tasting incredible. And thank you so much!! I am so glad you liked them :)

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  17. cute video! i especially liked when you were massaging the seasonings into the squash. :)

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    1. Awww thanks Grace! That squash needed a good spice rub :)

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  18. Your photography is so stunning and everything looks beyond cozy, loving all the flavors in this soup! :)

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  19. That's about the earthiest looking soup I've ever seen, and I love the idea of adding nuts to the puree (and they can somehow sub in for cream? Wow.) And the video was lovely!

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  20. This looks SO GOOD! Can't wait to try it. And those wood bowls are awesome.

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  21. Sooo I made this soup, but it came out waayy too thick and weirdly textured for a soup. My gravy-loving husband, however, deemed it the best healthy gravy he's ever had and ate it over biscuits! It actually did look like gravy... anyways, despite its lack of soupy-ness, it turned out to be a yummy gravy and we ate it anyways lol

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  22. I never would have thought to put nuts in soup, but that is such a brilliant idea! And pecans and squash naturally go together so beautifully. Looking forward to giving this a try, pinned :)

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  23. I just so glad to have squash on the menu tonight. I’m going to give this yummy looking recipe a try!

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  24. Nice twist for a roasted acorn squash soup. Love the combination of the chipotle and toasted pecans. Your photos are beautiful and your video is awesome. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sonia!!

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  25. Stumbld onto your tumblr today and spent a delicious hour enjoying it on my lunch break while enjoying left-overs from my wife's cooking club dinner last night -The Gourmet Gals. She's the gourmet all around. I've recently started cooking and baking because our three-year-old daughter takes after Mom in the kitchen and I've made it a point to have a cooking/baking project with her on weekends and have started putting together a journal of recipes we make (or plan to make) that she can grow up with and hopefully share with her kids one day. I think I'm going to attempt this one with her but keep the chipotle spice out of it or minimize it since she probably won't like it. We may add it to our servings and I'm thinking she can add celanese cinnamon to hers. Do you think that might be a decent, low-heat-yet-adventurous substitution?

    PS: it can't be stated enough -beautiful and inspiring photography!

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