I didn’t want to make another sweet butternut squash (or pumpkin) soup, so I was in a search of a recipe where I could combine butternut squash with a second major ingredient that would neutralize the sweetness of butternut squash, without suppressing its flavor, something similar to what I did with carrot soup by adding lentils to it. I wanted a soup that was very savory and very different from what is usually expected from a butternut squash (sweetness) and that would appeal to those who dislike pumpkin or butternut squash soups for their sweetness.
I found a recipe on Epicurious for a black bean pumpkin soup that seemed to offer exactly what I was looking for. Because I wanted to use up butternut squash that I just roasted for a soup, I substituted pumpkin with butternut squash. I also significantly changed the proportions of black beans to butternut squash, because the comments on the recipe indicated that with the given amount of black beans, the soup becomes too much of a black bean soup, losing the butternut squash (pumpkin) flavor. The comments also talked that the soup was losing its pretty pumpkin color with so many black beans. That convinced me to reduce the amount of black beans, which resulted in one of the best butternut squash soups I ever head. The sweetness of butternut squash is beautifully compensated by the black beans, and the soup is neither overwhelmed by black beans nor dominated by sweet taste of squash.
I also did not think that adding 1/2 cup Sherry in the end impacted the flavor in any way, so I might omit it next time.
By the way, I love roasting butternut squash. I can literally do it for fun: it’s easy (put it in the oven, wait about an hour, cool, peel), and your house fills with warm smells so welcome during short winter days. I actually posted a very detailed tutorial on how to roast a butternut squash here. So many things you can do with roasted butternut squash.
Black bean butternut squash soup
Adapted from Epicurious.
Prep time: 60 min
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 8 shallots, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup fresh or drained canned tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup canned black beans, drained
- 2 cups roasted butternut squash
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup dry Sherry
- more salt to taste
1) In a large saucepan, melt butter. Add chopped onion, minced shallots, minced garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped fresh tomatoes (or canned tomatoes), and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
2) Add black beans, butternut squash and 1 cup chicken broth to food processor. Process until finely pureed. Add onion mixture from the saucepan to the food processor and process everything (pureed beans and butternut squash plus onion mixture) together until smooth.
3) Place the pureed mixture back in the saucepan, add 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup dry sherry, stir until well combined, and simmer, covered, on low heat for 20 minutes. Season with more salt and cumin if necessary.
4) To my taste I use 1 teaspoon salt total (but I notated 1/2 teaspoon because you might find 1 teaspoon too salty – judge for yourself). I also season with 1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons cumin total – to your taste 1 tablespoon total from step 1 might be enough.
5) To serve, sprinkle with heavy cream swirls, salt and pepper on top.