Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Soup du Jour: “Soup is to the meal, what the hostess’ smile of welcome is to the party. A prelude to the goodness to come.” -Louis P. De Gouy

One beautiful, late afternoon this summer after several sets of tennis, Adam and I decided to have a leisurely weekend lunch al fresco at the club. We ordered cool drinks and slowly perused the menu under the welcomed shade of our table’s market umbrella. Although it was a sweltering day without as much as a wisp of breeze, the Roasted Baby Carrot and Brie Soup really caught my eye. “Wow,” I said to my husband as I took a frosty, refreshing sip of Chardonnay (and feeling incredibly French, by the way), “that soup sounds really interesting!”

“You should try it,” Adam said without looking up from his menu.
“I don’t know. Soup on a day like today? Hmmm…I don’t know. What are you going to get?” I asked, not looking up from mine.

When the waiter returned to take our order, I was this close to passing on it—because even I couldn’t believe that the new chef would put hot soup on the menu on a hot, summer day. So, I ordered it for the same reason. It must be spectacular to defy such laws of culinary appropriation. And, since I, too, am a card-carrying member of “Seducing Diners With the Senses,” this starter’s description was too persuasive to wave off. Heat wave or no. Personally, I believe that food is not merely meant to be eaten but should be experienced. Seriously, think about it. When you’re deciding what you’ll have at a restaurant, your dining adventure has already started before you’ve even taken the first bite of food. You think, “What sounds good?” Chefs don’t say, “Today, I am offering you chicken salad.” Nope. That’s way too pedestrian. They work it with, “Today, I’m offering you a Tarragon Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Pecans. Tender pieces of chicken, pan-seared crispy in olive oil and butter, chopped and tossed with a house-made garlic mayonnaise, tart cranberries and toasted pecans; served over butter lettuces and drizzled with a sweet and spicy orange vinaigrette.”

The menu is sexed up, like great food foreplay as you imagine the chef or the waiter (which ever foodie fantasy works for you) with a come-hither look, tempting you with each item, teasing you, circling the invisible plate under your nose in what, surely, could only be the deeply-seductive voice of Barry White beckoning you to give in, saying, “You know you want me, baby.”

It’s Pavlovian.

Onions, Garlic, Butter, Cream.

A few minutes and a Chardonnay later, our server brought over my steaming mug and gently set it in front of me. As I waited for it to cool down a bit, I admired the beautiful color. The bright marigold orange was stunning. Just looking at that color made me happy. When I felt like I wasn’t risking third degree burns, I took a cautious spoonful. I let it roll around on my tongue and admired the soft sweetness of the carrots. The savory note of garlic and sautéed onions came through right away. As that warming, silky sip slid down the back of my throat, I tasted butter. I closed my eyes in immense satisfaction. Yes, definitely butter. I smiled wickedly and raise a single eyebrow. And cream. I couldn’t get my spoon back to the bowl quickly enough for more. I had to have another discerning bite despite the few beads of perspiration that dotted my forehead. 

The only criticism I had about the soup was the underwhelming presence of the Brie. It wasn’t there at all, frankly, which was a pity. Especially since it got top billing. I was really looking forward to that plump, nutty note but the execution just fell short. But, hey, you know what? That was fine and dandy with me because the soup’s flavor profile stood on its own. At first, I thought the chef must’ve had some big ol’ kahunas for being so bold as to offer such cold weather comfort in the oppressive heat of August. But after sopping up every last sunny drop (and dabbing the sweat from my brow), I shrugged to myself saying, “90 degrees, Schameeze. This soup is fabulous. Hot or cold.” (The weather, not the soup.)

Now, I’ve been making a Roasted Butternut Squash Bisque for several years now and (shamelessly patting myself on the back now) it’s amazing. But, I couldn’t forget my summer soup love. They had to get together! I mean, carrots and butternut squash are kind of kissing cousins. They’re M.F.E.O. (made for each other)! And I knew their love child would be gorgeous. And, hoo boy, was I right! Sweet, savory, glorious Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup. For me, a jewel of a soup that I’d happily eat any day of the year.

If you really want to dazzle your guests from the get-go this Thanksgiving (or anytime, honestly), serve this dramatic, brilliant soup. Oh! That color. Roasting the carrots and squash brings out their inherent sweetness and is my favorite way to cook most vegetables. They get all lovey-dovey and caramelized, adding a terrific depth of flavor to the final dish. I dumped the Brie and opted for Gruyère instead…but on a thinly sliced baguette. It’s the perfect crunchy addition to this velvety soup.

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Gruyère Croutons

Recipe type: Soups
Serves: 6-8

  • For the soup:
  • 1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon red cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • For the croutons:
  • ½ baguette, thinly sliced
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 3 ounces Gruyère, grated

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss together the squash, carrots, butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cayenne. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet and spread to a single layer. Roast until the squash and carrots are tender, about 40 minutes, stirring once or twice. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven over medium, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil; add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add the broth, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Add in the roasted vegetables and purée the soup in batches in a blender (or do like I do and use an immersion blender). Add in the half and half and maple syrup; simmer over medium-low until soup begins to thicken. Taste for salt and pepper.
  3. To make the croutons, preheat the broiler setting. Place the baguette slices on a large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle each piece with some olive oil and broil until slightly golden. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle over a little cheese on each slice. Return to the oven and broil until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately with the soup.

…from the Picture-Perfect kitchen: Planning: The soup can be prepared a day or two in advance. Gently reheat on the stove but do not boil. Product Purity: Opt for whole nutmeg over the pre-ground stuff. The flavor difference is phenomenal. I use organic chicken broth, free of added MSG. Presentation: The beauty of this soup is that it can be served in a rustic, earthy bowl or in an elegant soup bowl with the croutons and chopped chives for color. To garnish like a pro, drop a small amount of cream or half and half in the center of the bowl, and using a skewer, artistically drag it through to create a pretty pattern. © 2012 Hutchstone, LLC. All rights reserved.

…Adam says:

While we all seem to agree that it’s not a good idea to play with matches, it’s incredibly useful to have matchbooks sitting around the photo studio. Why? They can level things, and I don’t mean buildings. The bowl in the first shot above would not sit flat, and looked tilted in the shot. A lot of the time this can be fixed by either tilting the camera in such a way as to make the offending item square up with the edge of the viewfinder, but in this case the soup was clearly seen to be unevenly distributed in the bowl making one edge considerably smaller than the other, looking obviously lop-sided. Solution: matchbook. Matchbooks are small wedges that can slip easily and unobtrusively beneath plates and bowls and cups to square them with the camera. Two things are important here: 1. Double check to make sure no corner of the matchbook is peeking out and most importantly 2. burn off the matches in the book to ensure that no friction between unspent matches causes them to ignite. Remove the burnt matches for a thinner wedge and leave the burnt matches in the book for a thicker one. It ain’t pretty, I know, but it works!

Content and potography © 2011 Hutchstone, LLC

This entry was posted in Appetizers, Breads and Baked Goods, Cooking, Soups, Soups, Salads and Sandwiches and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Roasted Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with Gruyère Croutons

  1. Abby says:

    Absolutely delicious! I followed the directions exactly (except I didn’t have maple syrup) and it was fantastic! Thank you so much. I can’t wait to explore your website more.

  2. Ana says:

    Very good. Thank you for the recipe.

  3. Sandra says:

    I must try this and hopefully will experience it the same way you did. What a smoking hot description!

  4. Sarah says:

    I just made a squash soup last night, but this looks incredible. Going to give this one a try soon! Thanks!

  5. Mary says:

    What a lovely soup. The croutons move it from the realm of ordinary and create something that is quite guest worthy. This is my first visit to your blog, so I've spent some time browsing through your earlier posts.I am so glad I did that. I really like the food and recipes you share with your readers and I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  6. Sandra says:

    Beautiful post as always with delicious recipe, and photos, presentation and styling..what can I say except AMAZING!!!
    Wishing you both fantastic beginning of holiday season!!!

  7. Kim Bee says:

    I say shamelessly pat yourself on the back every day. You always make such wonderful food and the picture you paint here is wonderful. Drew me right in. Loved every minute of it. Photos stunning as always and appreciated the tip about the matchbook. My dad used to do that, he always had some handy. Made me nostalgic reading that. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  8. LV says:

    I love your writing and this soup just sounds amazing. I will definitely make this. This is soup Sassoon, and this sounds so tastu!

  9. Baker Street says:

    Oh wow! Ok. Firstly, what gorgeous pictures! Absolutely love them! I was so pulled in when you said gruyere croutons! I'm sure they tasted perfect with that super scrumptious soup. And last lastly, I love the post. Super informative. And the recipe sounds perfect..

  10. Brooks says:

    You have a gift for describing food and your experiences surrounding it. Visiting here always feels like receiving a present. This post has inspired me to shake up a tried-n-true butternut squash soup I've made for years – it will grace our table this holiday. Cheryl and Adam, thank you for the wonderful contributions you share with us. May you and yours have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  11. This soup looks so lovely and delicious! I am really loving the gruyere croutons! And what a great tip from Adam with the matchbook!

  12. Gorgeous shots! Lovely recipe too. It looks soo scrumptious!

  13. Kiri W. says:

    I've been making butternut squash -carrot soup a lot lately, because my CSA shares contained a lot of these veggies, and soup is great in this weather, but I really will have to try your crouton recipe – I adore gruyere!

  14. Cucina49 says:

    That soup is a stunner, but what I'm really ogling are those Gruyere croutons!

  15. Toni says:

    It is 35 below here and that soup looks perfect for this weekend. If it was good on a hot August day, it will be heaven on a cold November evening.

  16. Tina says:

    This was a good read and very informative. My husband loves soup and I admit I do not make it enough. You have truly inspired me to make some soup this week. I have saved the recipe and look forward to enjoying it soon. Fantastic post.

  17. Dulce Dough says:

    What a wonderful soup recipe! So perfect for this time of year!

  18. Alaiyo Kiasi says:

    Hi Cheryl and Adam,

    I loved the narrative that accompanies this post. I, too, have fallen for a seductive-sounding hot soup from a menu when it was roasting outside. I especially love the third paragraph. It's such a thrill for me to read good writing. The photos are superb as well.

    I so appreciate the mood you set in the photographs. It varies, based on the theme of the post. It's instructive for me.

    Since I've seen this post, I might now have to serve TWO soups at Thanksgiving!