I’ve been messing around with this recipe for years, to the point where it doesn’t feel like Autumn without it. A few years ago was the first time I made it with beer, simply because I ran out of vegetable broth. After serving it at a Swiss Thanksgiving dinner (which I made for 12 people), I was approached by one of the guests who offered me an absurd amount of money to make enough of the soup to last her through the winter. So I guess it’s pretty good, and healthy too.
Now for the beer part. I make almost all my soups and stews with beer because running out of broth is a typical occurrence and because it taste good. Chilli gets made with a chocolatey stout, cheddar broccoli soup gets made with a nut brown ale, and obviously Guinness with Irish stew. For this butternut squash soup there are many options, just remember it doesn’t have to be any special beer, just something you’d want to drink normally. Some beers that would work include: hefeweizen with orange notes, a plain lager, oktoberfest/marzen beer, or lightly spiced winter ales. Try and avoid anything heavily spiced as it will blend weirdly with the spices called for in the recipe.
Which brings me to Sam’s Winter Lager. The beer is a slightly maltier version of their regular lager with a light touch of cinnomon, ginger, and orange. But it’s easy to drink and the spices don’t overpower, making it a perfect compliment to this soup.
It’s loosely based off of this recipe from a 2003 Gourmet. Yields a very large pot of soup.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium-large onion chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 butternut squash (about 3-3.5 lbs total), sliced lengthwise and prepared for roasting.
- 5 1/2 cups (or more) vegetable broth (chicken broth works too)
- 1 bottle Winter Lager or other amber ale or lager
- 3 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1-2 teaspoon grated orange peel (or zest 1/2 of a medium sized orange)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Prepare Squash for roasting. Put oven on 400 degrees. Slice squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Lay on lined roasting pan with the flesh side down. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender. Let cool and remove skin, it should peel right off. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in heavy large pot (I use an 8 quart stockpot) over medium-high heat. Add onions; sauté until tender, about 12 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute.
3. Add squash, try and mash it up a bit with a spoon, 5 1/2 cups broth (or more if needed), and bottle of Winter Lager ; bring to boil (the boil can be messy, be careful). Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Cool slightly.
4. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Or use an immersion blender which is far easier. Return puree to pot if using a blender. Add thyme, orange zest, cumin, salt, and pepper. Thin soup with more broth if desired to get the right consistency Simmer 15 minutes. Season to desired taste. (Can be made up to 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Cover and chill. Rewarm before serving, thinning with more broth if desired.)
5. Highly suggest serving it with this Red Pepper Puree. (I usually cut down the amount of garlic).
Disclaimer: While this recipe was written as accurately as possible, you might want to pay attention to how much liquid you add. Roasting the squash gets rid of a lot of water weight so depending on how long you let it roast you’ll need more or less broth to compensate. Just make it so it resembles the consistency you’d like and you should be fine. Enjoy.