By Chef Chris De La Rosa
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 your 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 the 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 two heads of garlic, and drizzle on 1/2 the olive oil and salt (1/2). Then put 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 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 its skin, directly into the pot. By the way, 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 should take 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.
Twenty-five 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 like 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 and comforting, and for those of us lucky enough to get one of the ribs….BONUS!
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This recipe is courtesy of Gourmand Award winning cookbook author and founder of CaribbeanPot.com, Chris De La Rosa. With over 450 printable recipes with step by step cooking instructions and demo videos, PLUS over 1 million social/fan connections globally every month, CaribbeanPot.com is the world’s #1 resource of Caribbean Culinary Culture. Connect with Chis on Instagram: www.instagram.com/caribbeanpot/.