In the Caribbean this would be called a pumpkin soup and it would be thicker and packed with ground provisions and flour dumplings. Outstanding, but we’re going lighter today as I’d like for the smoky flavors, along with the Butternut Squash itself, to shine through and captivate our taste buds.
1 large butternut squash (about 4-5 lbs)
4 tablespoon olive oil (divided)
1 tablespoon salt (divided)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium onion (diced)
2 stalks celery (diced)
2 scallions (chopped)
2 small heads of garlic (roast whole)
2 1/2 – 3 cups chicken stock (gluten free)
2 1/2 – 3 cups water
3 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
1 carrot (diced)
1/2 lb smoked pork ribs
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 Habanero pepper (diced)
Important: If doing this recipe gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary requirements. Especially the stock you choose to use and read the label of the smoked ribs just to be sure.
Cut he squash in half and remove the seeds etc from the core with a spoon.
Place the now ready pieces of squash on a baking tray, along with the 2 heads of garlic and drizzle on 1/2 the olive oil and salt (1/2). Then into a 400 F pre-heated oven on the middle rack.
Heat your soup pot on medium flame and go in with the remaining olive oil. Followed by the onion, celery, scallions and black pepper. Turn the heat down to low and and go in with the thyme and carrot. Mix well.
Cook for 3-4 minutes, then toss in the ribs. Any meaty parts, I’d recommend cutting into cubes. Stir and cook for 3-4 minutes to render out any of the fat on the smoked ribs. Remember you can use smoked Beef, Chicken or Turkey if you don’t eat pork or can’t source the smoked pork ribs.
Turn up the heat to medium / high and add the stock and water, along with the grated ginger. As it comes to a boil, squeeze out the roasted garlic out of it’s skin, directly into the pot. BTW it took 30 minutes for the garlic to roast. I forgot to mention – roast the garlic and squash before you get started with the soup itself. Add the habanero pepper, no seeds and stir. If you want this to have a kick, add the seeds of the pepper.
The squash took 1 hour and 30 minutes to cook through. After the squash cools a bit, scoop out the flesh and add it to the pot. Try to get big chunks if you can.
25 minutes after adding the roasted squash, the soup should be done. Add the remaining salt and parsley. I like this soup to be a bit chunky and not that thick porridge-like stuff you get in North America. Remember to taste it for salt and adjust to your own liking. Be mindful that the stock you use may be loaded with sodium (this is why I add the salt at the end).
The smoky flavors of the smoked ribs, along with the roasting of the squash adds a unique taste to this soup. While it’s ‘light’ it’s also very filling / comforting and for those of us lucky enough to get one of the ribs.. BONUS!