Mexican Butternut Squash Soup With Ancho Chili, Crema, and Pepitas Recipe

Mexican Butternut Squash Soup With Ancho Chili, Crema, and Pepitas Recipe

Ancho chilies add deep color and flavor to this butternut squash soup. [Photographs: Daniel Gritzer]

Borrowing from the Mexican pantry, this easy, warming soup is made with roasted butternut squash, flavored with ancho chilies, and garnished with Mexican crema, cilantro, and pepitas. If butternut squash soup and chili had a lovechild, this might be it.

Why this recipe works:

  • Roasting the squash first deepens its flavor and sweetness.
  • Ancho chilies add a rich, earthy taste and mild heat to the soup.

Note: If you want a less spicy soup with a less intense chili flavor, feel free to discard the ancho chili seeds or scale down to 1 ancho chili pepper. Otherwise, go for the big flavor and spoon in plenty of crema or sour cream to tame the intensity. You can make this soup vegetarian by substituting with vegetable stock.

  • Yield:Makes 4 to 6 servings
  • Active time: 45 minutes
  • Total time:45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 ancho chilies, stemmed (see note)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 quart chicken stock or low-sodium broth (see note)
  • 1 cup water
  • Sugar, to taste
  • Mexican crema or sour cream, for garnish
  • Cilantro leaves, for garnish
  • Pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds), for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. 1.

    Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss squash with 2 tablespoons oil, season with salt, and spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast squash, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, about 35 minutes.

  2. 2.

    In a dry skillet, toast ancho chilies over high heat, turning once, until fragrant. Let cool, then tear into pieces.

  3. 3.

    Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, carrot, and garlic, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add ancho chilies, chicken stock, and water and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to maintain simmer. Stir in butternut squash.

  4. 4.

    Using a blender or stick blender, blend soup until completely smooth. Season with salt and add sugar 1 teaspoon at a time to balance the flavor, if needed.

  5. 5.

    Spoon soup into bowls and garnish with crema or sour cream, cilantro, and pepitas. Serve with lime wedges.