Four years ago, on a crisp Autumn day filled with amber sunlight and cool breezes, my life changed. Where did this take place you might ask? Tucked away in a cozy booth at a Panera in Delafield, Wisconsin. I know, that’s not usually a place of earth-shattering discovery, but my taste buds have never been the same.
Bundled in a chunky sweater and filled with Fall spirit, I decided to differ from my usual order and try the Autumn Squash Soup. Moments later, an adorable blue cup arrived with wisps of steam rising off the golden yellow surface dotted with earthy green pumpkin seeds. As required by the unwritten rules of Panera, I dunked in a piece of French bread, covering the white fluff with a thick layer of liquid gold. My first bite was heavenly. Imbued with the warmth of cinnamon and the cozy taste of butternut squash, this soup is sweet with a nip of spice. It caresses you in a warm hug of Autumn flavor.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m obsessed with this soup. When the leaves start changing, my appetite skips right over pumpkin spice because it’s actually squash soup season thank you very much. But I ran into a slight problem: I do not have the time or money to support my addiction by running to Panera at least once a week. My love of this soup might be ridiculous, but it’s not that ridiculous. While I was wondering what to do about this oh-so-terrible problem, my mom, the lovely woman that she is, went to good old Pinterest and found some copycat recipes. Now, I can eat squash soup all week long!
I wanted to share a recipe with all my soup lovers out there, because honestly homemade soup is better anyway. I personally like to add a little more cinnamon and spice than Panera which really takes the flavor to a whole new level. We like some depth to our soup.
Anyway, this amazing recipe allows me to eat my favorite Fall dish for a week straight without spending a ton of money, so, without further ado, here it is:
- 1 Butternut Squash – I personally go for the biggest one I can find, but if you don’t have a cauldron sized pot, a normal sized squash will do.
- 1 Sweet Onion
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil
- 15 oz Pumpkin Puree – This can be found in cans in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.
- 2 Cups Vegetable Broth – This can vary depending on how thick you like your soup. If you prefer it a little thinner, buy more vegetable broth.
- 1 ½ Cups Apple Cider
- 1 ½ Cups Heavy Cream
- 2 tbsp Honey
- ¼ tsp Curry Powder – I always add more, granted I also buy giant squashes, so depending on how much soup you have, this might be enough. As far as how much I add, it’s always to taste, so unfortunately, I can’t give you exact measurements. Just let your taste buds be your guide. (The same goes for all spices)
- ½ tsp Cinnamon
- 2 tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- Pumpkin Seeds – This is just a garnish and totally optional.
- P.S. You will probably also want some bread on the side.
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
- Cut the whole squash and half of the onion into chunks.
- Put them on a baking sheet, toss them in the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Cook for 20 minutes, or until you can easily stick a fork into the squash, and then let cool.
- Once cool, puree the squash and onion in a blender or food processor.
- Combine in a large pot with pumpkin puree, vegetable broth, apple cider, and heavy cream, and bring it to a low boil over medium heat.
- After low boil, add your honey and spices (to taste), and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.
- Top it off with some pumpkin seeds and enjoy!
Shout out: Ashley at Frugal Coupon Living for actually creating this recipe that I now forever cherish.