Whenever I come home to my parents’ pumpkin patch, I don’t just see fields of pumpkins ready to be carved up into jack-o-lanterns. I also see a farmer’s market where I can get lots of delicious, from-scratch baked goods and I can choose from a variety of pumpkins and squash ready to be cooked up. You can get a pie pumpkin, a small variety known for having tender, sweet flesh best for pumpkin pie. Or, you can experiment like I did with the many varieties of squash available. This past weekend when I was home, I played with this recipe from epicurious.com for a creamy and silky Squash Soup. I just used what I found on the farm — a large butternut squash and a green-and-white striped Delicata (Sweet Potato Squash). This sweet squash combo resulted in a savory soup with just a touch of sweetness without the addition of sugar (besides the splash of real maple syrup I added for fun).

Winter Squash Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Soup

  • 1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 cups low-salt chicken broth
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces butternut squash, no need to peel (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cups 1-inch pieces peeled Delicata squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • Splash of maple syrup

Croutons

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 1/4-inch-thick baguette bread slices
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère cheese, or shredded mozzarella

For soup:

Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, all squash, plus enough water to barely cover squash; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until squash is very tender, about 20 minutes.Working in batches, puree soup in blender. Return soup to same pot. Stir in cream and maple syrup; bring to simmer. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill. Rewarm over medium heat before serving.)

For croutons:

Preheat broiler. Drizzle olive oil on bread slices. Sprinkle cheese over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Broil until cheese melts, about 1 minute. Ladle soup into bowls. Top each with croutons and serve.

Written by Kelsey Vala. Kelsey is the youngest of three Vala sisters. She graduated from New York University last May and is currently working for FoodNetwork.com in New York City.