Make Ahead

Winter Squash Soup with (Less) Red Chile and Mint

October 23, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by Ryan Dausch
  • Serves 4-6
Author Notes

Lightly adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetable Literacy. Key changes: 1) I have used her variation of simply roasting the squash (instead of peeling and chopping it). 2) Far less red chile. (If you like, feel free to add a couple more teaspoons.) What you want, as Madison stresses, is not chili powder, which is a blend, but pure ground chile. Look for a mild or medium ground chile; a hot chile will smother the other flavors here. Also, if you don't have any cheesecloth for the spice sachet, a folded and tied coffee filter will do the job. —Nicholas Day

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds or more of winter squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
  • 1 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chile powder
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock, or water
  • 12 coriander seeds, 12 black peppercorns, and 4 whole cloves, all tied in a cheesecloth sachet
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • A handful of sliced mint for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast on a baking sheet until soft, about 35 minutes. After it cools slightly, measure out about 2 cups worth.
  2. In a soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the 2 cups of squash, onion, basil, and mint and cook, stirring frequently, for about five minutes. Then add the cinnamon stick and the chile powder, followed by the stock, the spice sachet, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the flavors have melded.
  3. Remove the cinnamon stick and the spice sachet and puree until smooth. Reheat the soup gently, then stir in the cream. Serve with a topping of fresh mint.

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I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

7 Reviews

Susan March 17, 2014
PS: I also skipped the whole spice sachet business. They'll grind up when you blend the soup.
Susan March 17, 2014
WMHW, I made this the other day and it is amazing! Because I find most Deborah Madison recipes under seasoned, I bumped up the coriander, black pepper, and cloves a little. I also substituted cream from a spoonful of greek yogurt. The results were sublime. I will definitely make this again.
What M. March 17, 2014
Chile and mint, I love the idea of combining the two.
Susan March 15, 2014
Butternut is a winter squash. :-)
Melanie C. January 4, 2014
Made this with acorn and butternut squash. Delicious! Added a bit of paprika for color.
Tapps November 16, 2013
I made this last night as the first course for a dinner party. Lovely flavours and everyone wanted seconds despite the fact they had two more courses coming. Made with a home grown pumpkin and herbs from the garden. Will try with butternut squash next time.
haapi November 13, 2013
Can this be made with other squashes? (Like butternut.)