What to Cook Now

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut

By • October 2, 2013 • 17 Comments

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If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A savory, spicy butternut squash soup you won't expect, but one you'll want to eat all season long. 

Butternut Squash Soup from Food52

When the air finally became crisp, pulling back its shoulders from a lazy, slouched summer breeze, and September rolled around, other kids in my 2nd grade class looked forward to falling leaves and pumpkins and caramel apples.

For me, fall marked the important moment when I'd start devising a plan to get out of accepting the passed butternut squash at my grandfather's Thanksgiving table. A tactic in regular rotation was getting up when it came my way. When that didn't work, I'd feign ignorance, pretending not to see it, or pretending that the dish was too heavy, too hot, or oops I thought that was the rolls and I already have two. 

My aunts and uncles and cousins would tell me that he grew it in his own garden. I would tell them I was allergic. 

Butternut Squash Soup from Food52

Every year, the squash would end up on my plate anyway -- a bright orange reminder that I'd have to work harder at strategizing next year. But the next year I didn't: by then, I'd learned to love the earthy sweetness of butternut squash, but I'd grown tired of it sharing a bowl with maple, or apples, or brown sugar. It was always sweet on sweet -- less vegetable, more candy. 

The keys to this soup are the miso stock and the coconut milk. The first makes it deep and savory in that lovely way you can't identify while you're eating it, an unsung hero -- integral but otherwise unnoticed. The second makes it pleasantly rich. A gentle, background heat holds everything in check.  

Once you get through hacking up the squash (the only real butchery of the vegetable world) the rest is smooth sailing: simmer, purée, taste, adjust for seasoning. 

Butternut Squash Soup from Food52

Eat it with a hunk of good bread, and when your soup is gone, steal some from the bowl next to you. Feed it to any squash-haters you know. But be prepared to pass it again -- they may ask for seconds. 

Butternut Squash Soup with Miso and Coconut 

Serves 6 to 8

Olive oil
4 1/2 cups water
4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white shiro miso
1 large yellow onion
1-inch knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or slightly more to taste
One 3-pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Eric Moran

Jump to Comments (17)

Tags: what to cook now, butternut squash, soup, recipe, miso

Comments (17)

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about 1 year ago amber

So excited to try this recipe--but I have some barley miso, which i know has a stronger taste profile. Do you think I should half the amount for the soup?

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about 1 year ago Ella Smith

Kenzi, the genealogist in me is stirring. The Wilbur's settled colonial Rhode Island, and my line migrated into Stonington, CT and Noank, CT. Thought you might be interested, chances are we are distant kin. 16th cousins, maybe? :). The soup looks fabulous. Can't wait to prepare it. I have a butternut squash on my counter, and some dried coconut and a vita-mix, just waiting to be made into milk!

Me

about 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

This is too crazy. My family legend has it that I'm a relative of Roger Williams, who indeed helped settle colonial Rhode Island. Food52: where distant cousins meet?

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about 1 year ago LauriL

Really cool!

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about 1 year ago Ella Smith

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Providence, RI, visit Prospect Terrace Park on Congdon Street, which is located near Brown University. (A beautiful area!). This park is located on top of a hill, and has an enormous statue of Roger Williams with out-stretched hands guarding the city. It is a stunning view. I haven't spoken to anyone yet, who descends from Roger Williams. This makes you special. I descend from Anne Hutchinson, whom Roger Williams allowed into his colony after she was ejected from Massachusetts Bay Colony. Maybe you have Hutchinson blood, also. I can see the Williams and Wilbur's marrying. Now that you are an established Rhode Islander, you will have to start preparing clam chowder with the clear broth (the only chowder worth making), Johnny cakes,
and coffee milk. I love Rhode Island!

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about 1 year ago Miche

This soup is delicious. But I'd recommend using less cayenne if you're not a very spicy food person.

Me

about 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

So glad! And yep, you're right -- it's got a serious kick.

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about 1 year ago LauriL

Oh my. Just oh my. Now have my first course for Thanksgiving! Thanks Kenzi!!

Me

about 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Yay! Glad you like it.

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about 1 year ago LauriL

Just the smells in the kitchen are driving me nuts!! Almost ready to put on the final touches.

Stringio

about 1 year ago Susan Stitt

gorgeous recipe

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about 1 year ago Cookie16

All I need is a squash! Will wait for next weekend when I can make it to the farmers market :) A Safeway squash just won't do!

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about 1 year ago LauriL

Got my Miso today!! Soup tomorrow! I never knew how creative you were in avoiding grampa's squash. Glad you're making up for lost squash moments!!!

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about 1 year ago Toledo KB

Here I thought I had my butternut squash soup recipe perfected, and now you throw miso in the mix. I just happen to have some shiro in my fridge. Thanks.

Me

about 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Let me know how it comes out if you try it! Fun fact: I use miso stock in a lot of soups and risottos, etc. It's sort of a magical ingredient.

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about 1 year ago Toledo KB

Miso stock? I assume you mean miso paste and water. That's a great idea.

Me

about 1 year ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Yep, that's what I call it in the recipe. And also my own kitchen to feel like a pro.