Cumin Spiced Squash Soup with Cheesy Sage Croutons

  • Servings: 8
  • Prep time: ~ 15-20 minutes
  • Cook time: ~ 30-40 minutes
a-bowl-of-warm-cumin-squash-soup-with-a-cheesy-sage-crouton

Ingredients

  • Roasting Butternut Squash: (to be used in soup)
  • 2 medium organic butternut squash (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano and Sage French Grey
  • Soup:
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 6 cups of chicken stock, homemade
  • 8 cups roasted butternut squash (from above)
  • 1/2 cup organic pumpkin puree, can or fresh
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 cup whipping cream, optional
  • Back to Organic Oregano and Sage French Grey to taste
  • Croutons:
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
  • 24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere or raw milk Parmesan Reggiano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage

This silky smooth, squash soup topped with a crunchy, cheesy, herb crouton tastes heavenly and is the perfect meal to enjoy during cooler weather. It is so comforting and scrumptious as well as nutritious. The squash contains vital B vitamins to help convert carbs and sugar to energy and beta-carotene to reduce free radicals in your body. The beta-carotene also provides the beautiful yellow and orange color. The vibrant orange reminds me of gorgeous fall maple leaves that look like fiery flames blowing in the autumn wind. Can you tell Fall is my favorite season?

vibrant-orange-fall-leaves-from-farmers-almanac

There are several different ways to season squash soup. I usually roast the butternut squash and then add it to a soup made of chopped carrots, onions, garlic, celery, orange zest and chicken stock. It is fabulous and I highly recommend trying this butternut squash recipe. It is one of our staple soups in the fall and winter.

This time, I decided to change things up, especially since I did not have some of the ingredients above. While looking for a simple butternut squash soup, I came across this recipe with smoky cumin and ginger and it sounded amazing. Cumin is one of my favorite spices and my kids love it too.

For the most flavor, it is best to buy cumin seeds and toast them. Cumin seeds last about 1 year while the powder starts to degrade after 6 months. Indian Cuisine gives instructions on toasting the seeds and storing the powder. I love her picture of Cumin shown here!

cumin-powder

I have simplified this recipe so you do not develop carpal tunnel peeling and chopping the squash. Most people do not have the time or knife skills to chop squash into 1″ cubes. Roasting squash cut lengthwise with the skin on is much easier and you can season it giving the tender squash a sweeter, more nutty flavor.

butternut-squash-with-seeds-scooped-out

Since Fall is officially here, you should be able to find Delicata, Spagetti, Acorn, and Butternut to use for this soup or to create other delicious side dishes. The original recipe from Smitten Kitchen calls for a blend of 4 cups of acorn and 4 cups of butternut squash.

acorn-sqaush-with-seedsbutternut-squash-cut-lengthwise

I chose to use 8 cups of butternut squash with a 1/2 cup pumpkin purée since I needed to use the leftover pumpkin after baking pumpkin bread. Pumpkin is an excellent fruit to add some complexity to the soup. You can also use a whole can of pumpkin totaling about 2 cups if you wish. Just make sure you have some mix of different squashes or pumpkin.

Directions

1)Cut the top off 2 medium to large squashes and then slice them in half from the top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds with a spoon and then season the squash with about 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of Back to Organic Oregano and Sage Fresh Grey, and 2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil. Place the squash in one or two large baking dishes flesh side up and roast at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes. If the flesh starts to brown, use a fork to flip them over so the skin is facing up. Be careful to flip them away from you so the maple syrup and oil do not spill out and burn you. When a fork easily goes through the flesh, it is done. Now let it cool and then scrape out the flesh. The skin sometimes peels off easily and other times it is tougher to remove.

2) Melt 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter of butter on medium and add 1 large, finely chopped onion and 4 large minced garlic cloves. (You can use a Vidalia, red onion or Spanish or half Spanish, half red like I did. ) Sauté until tender and fragrant.

3) Pour in 6 cups of homemade chicken stock, 8 cups of roasted butternut squash (3 -4 lbs), 1/2 cup canned or fresh pumpkin purée, 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh thyme, 1 1/4 teaspoons minced fresh sage, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and bring to a boil then simmer. Cook on a simmer for 10 minutes until vegetables are very soft.

cumin-squash-soup-before-pureed

3) Use an immulsion blender to purée the soup or pour the soup into your blender in 2 or 3 batches and blend until very smooth. Be careful not to overfill the blender or it may splatter and burn you.

4) Return the soup to the pot and pour in 1/8 cup of cream and bring to a simmer. Cream is optional but highly recommended! Taste and season with a sea salt or cumin if needed. I use Back to Organic Oregano and Sage French Grey.

5) To make the Cheese croutons or bread sticks, preheat your oven to broil and slice your baguette or bread. Butter each side of your bread. I use Ghee due to the higher smoke point. Broil for one minute until golden brown then flip over and add the mix of 1 cup grated Gruyere or Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage on top of the bread. Broil until the cheese bubbles or the edges brown. Slice into croutons or bite size bread sticks.

ghee-on-top-of-wheat-bread-to-create-a-cheesy-sage-crouton

6) Serve the soup warm with the cheesy croutons. Garnish with fresh herbs or small croutons and a side of bread sticks for dipping.

cheese-and-herb-bread-sticks

Note: This soup can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. You can also freeze it in portion sized mason jars and thaw in the refrigerator over night. Return the soup to a sauce pan and simmer until bubbling. Do not microwave or you will lose a lot of the nutrients! Serve warm. Enjoy!

mason-jars-of-winter-squash-soup-with-cumin

If you avoid dairy, use a vegetable oil instead of butter and eliminate the cheese. Please let me know what you use and how you like it.

Quick Note

I have developed two new rubs using organic spices and lime zest. Cumin is in both of them because the seed enhances the flavor of your food. For centuries, it was used for its medicinal benefits. The seeds have even been found in the Egyptian tombs with the pharaohs.

Cumin can boost your metabolism and immune system, improve digestion, and give you energy. The seed is rich in antioxidants and iron which may help women at certain times of the month. Many people say they are deficient in iron and feel run down; 1 teaspoon of cumin will give you 15.5% of the daily recommended value.

I have a fresh batch of Chipotle Lime Himalayan Rub and Cumin Oregano Lime Rub. A coffee rub is coming soon.

Chipotle Lime Himalayan Rub is made with Chipotle Pepper, Cumin, Garlic, Black Pepper, Lime Zest and Himalayan Pink salt. It is the perfect seasoning for buttered corn, rice, grilled shrimp, pork, fish tacos, and sweet sauces like mango salsa. There is a lot of fresh lime zest in this seasoning.

Cumin Oregano Lime Rub is made with Hand-harvested French Grey, Fresh Oregano, Cumin, Paprika, Garlic, Black Pepper, and Lime Zest. The Cumin Oregano Lime rub completes your dishes with Chicken, Pork, Beans, Okra, Fall Root Vegetables like Squash and Carrots, Chickpeas, and dips like Hummus. I highly recommend this seasoning in gumbo, tomato stews, squash soups and side dishes, and even grilled cheese. Kids love the flavor of cumin especially on fish.

All of the spices are certified organic and the salts are unprocessed and rich in minerals. The Hand-harvested French Grey is certified organic with Nature & Progres in France. Each rub weights 2 ounces. If you are interested in purchasing one, please email me at julie@backtoorganic.com. My subscribers get 20% off the retail price of $15. Don’t you love the recycled glass apothecary jars with corked enclosures?

Back-to-Organic-Cumin-Oregano-Lime-Rub

References:

Smitten Kitchen recipe- http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/10/the-leaf-peeps/
Bon Appetit-http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Winter-Squash-Soup-with-Gruyere-Croutons-2997
Beta-carotene- http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/999.html
Winter Squash- http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63
Cumin- http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=91, http://www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com/cumin-health-benefits.html
Cumin photo- http://www.blendwithspices.com
Leaf photo- Farmer’s Almanac, peak color chart for fall foliage

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Recipe by Back To Organic at http://backtoorganic.com/cumin-spiced-squash-soup-with-cheesy-sage-croutons/