I’ve had an obsession going on the past couple of weeks.  I have needed to stop at least once a week to get Panera Autumn Squash Soup.  It’s sweet and creamy with crispy roasted and salted pumpkin seeds on top.  Its so satisfying on these cooling fall days and I decided I needed to make it myself.  Using the Panera ingredient list as my framework I started out to create a homemade version.

The Panera website describes the soup as “A blend of butternut squash and pumpkin, simmered in vegetable broth with honey, apple juice, cinnamon and a hint of curry, then finished with sweet cream and topped with roasted and salted pumpkin seeds.”  Pretty simple…only tough part was to get the smooth texture.  In my initial test I used golden acorn and butternut but they were not inherently sweet enough.  I had also simmered them in vegetable broth to cook the squashes, but the consistency was too stringy and grainy after blending.  I also felt the squash would benefit from roasting rather than simmering to get a deeper flavor.

At lunch with a couple of friends, one of them suggested I use canned pumpkin, which turned out to be the key!  Canned pumpkin, roasted butternut squash pureed with my potato ricer created the right balance of sweet and velvety that I was looking for.  To make the roasted pumpkin seeds check out this Simply Recipes Post.  This is a great lunch with crusty bread and a side salad à la Panera, or try it as an appetizer – Autumn Squash Shooters topped with a dab of sour cream, a great addition to you Thanksgiving meal (yes, I’m already thinking about Thanksgiving!).

Panera Autumn Squash Soup

Yield: Serves 6

Panera Autumn Squash Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped (or 20 oz package precut)
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 450. Toss chopped butternut squash with canola oil and salt and pepper.
  2. Roast for 25 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
  3. Using a potato ricer, press squash through ricer. (Or puree in blender if you don’t have a ricer)
  4. In a large food processor, blend pureed squash and pumpkin, pouring vegetable broth, apple cider and half and half through the top while blending.
  5. Pour into sauce pan and heat over medium to a gentle boil. Add honey and spices.
  6. Simmer on low for 10 minutes and serve with roasted pumpkin seeds.

http://homemadecravings.com/panera-autumn-squash-soup/

ADDITIONAL NOTES:  I’ve had a great response to this post and wanted to make a couple of notes based on comments and feedback I’ve received.  Some people have felt the consistency was too thick, if you are using a whole butternut squash it may be difficult to use the right amount without weighting your cut up squash.  Not to worry – just add additional broth and/or apple cider after you have pureed the squash until you reach your preferred consistency.  I used a mild yellow curry, which blends nicely with the other spices, feel free to add more spice to your preference!  Hope you enjoy!



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