Butternut squash is one of the most iconic ingredients of fall, and this soup is made even more autumnal with a haunting hint of smoky pimentón de la Vera, a Spanish spice made by grinding dried, smoked red peppers. Though luxuriously rich and creamy, this recipe contains no dairy.
Butternut Soup with Pimentón
2 lb. (1 kg) butternut squash
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 bay leaf
1 fresh rosemary sprig
4 fresh sage leaves
1/2 Tbs. pimentón
4 cups (32 fl. oz./1 l) chicken broth
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small bunch fresh chives
For the croutons:
1 Tbs. olive oil
4 oz. (125 g) semicured chorizo sausage, peeled and chopped
3 thick slices brown bread (about 6 oz./170 g), crusts removed and bread cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) dice
Halve, seed and skin the butternut squash, then cut the flesh into 4-inch (10-cm) chunks. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic, bay leaf, rosemary and sage and gently sauté until the onions are soft and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the pimentón.
Add the butternut squash and stock, season well with salt and pepper, cover and simmer until the squash is soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
Remove and discard the bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Ladle the soup into a food processor or blender and puree until velvety smooth. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To make the croutons, in a small fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the chorizo and fry until it has released some of its fat. Add the bread and toss in the pan to absorb the chorizo fat, then sauté until the bread is browned and the chorizo crisp and dry. Transfer to a bowl.
Finely snip the chives onto a small plate.
Ladle the soup into bowls and pass the croutons and chives around the table for diners to serve themselves. Serves 4.
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish, by Paul Richardson.