the girl can’t help it: spicy winter squash soup with apples & orange scented gremolata

spicy winter squash with apples & gremolata

I know, I know, I just wrote about gremolata and here it is again, sneaking it’s way into this soup post. It’s not that I want to be known as the gremolata girl, but honestly, I couldn’t help myself. While this spicy & sweet winter squash soup is delicious on its own, I wanted to add something else to it and felt that heavy croutons wouldn’t cut it. I yearned for something fresh and light and vibrant and figured that a mix of herbs, hot peppers, orange zest and apples would be a great accompaniment. This isn’t a frou-frou garnish, instead, it adds a layer of complexity that really works well.

pumpkin, apples & spice

This soup is very sophisticated and complex in flavour yet it’s a cinch to prepare. I think was inspired by some seriously amazing and luxurious meals I had this past weekend. You see, I was chosen to spend 4 jam-packed days in Vieux Montreal (that’s the Old Quarter of Montreal for you anglos) with 5 other Canadian bloggers courtesy of the very passionate Montreal coffee company, Van Houtte. I’m a simple girl used to soaking my own chickpeas and eating out usually involves a cheeseburger, so dining at fantastic restaurants and eating multi-course meals, let alone participating in wine-tastings and coffee cuppings, is way out of the ordinary for me. I loved it and wanted to capture a bit of that worldliness in one of my first meals back at home and I think I did good.

gremolata close up

For this dish, I roasted several small varieties of winter squash the night before – and just so you know, most ornamental squash can be eaten! Those tiny cute pumpkins I got from our CSA before Halloween were quickly roasted and turned into soup. After cutting them in half and scraping out the seeds and stringy bits, I put them into a roasting pan filled with nearly an inch of water. Once they were soft, I just scraped all the innards and was left with just over 2 cups of squash. I think you could easily use canned pumpkin or roast your own acorn/butternut/kabocha squash here and get great results.

All curry powders & pastes have different spice levels. If you’re not sure how spicy yours is, start by adding a small amount at a time until you get the spice that suits your taste buds.

spicy winter squash soup with apples & gremolata

elsewhere: Looking for a warm & flavourful biscuit to eat with your soup or stew? Head over to Poppytalk & bake up a batch of easy zucchini & cheddar biscuits.

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17 comments to “the girl can’t help it: spicy winter squash soup with apples & orange scented gremolata”

  1. 1
    Tanvi @ The Hathi Cooks   November 10, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Ooh! Yum! That gremolata looks amazing. As does the soup, of course. Beautiful!

  2. 2
    Amy (Savory Moments)   November 11, 2011 at 3:50 am

    The gremolata looks like a perfect match to the soup! Yum.

  3. 3
    Joanne   November 11, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Gremolata is really such an underrated condiment so I’m super glad you’re featuring it so much! I’m sure it adds a nice hint of freshness to the soup!

  4. 4
    Ashley   November 11, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I thought you couldn’t eat those ornamental gourds and pumpkins – good to know! I’ve never had gremolata but your version of it sounds delicious and like a nice addition to the soup.

  5. 5
    Bijoux   November 11, 2011 at 9:24 am

    I agree! Pumpkins aren’t just for decorating your house on Halloween!! Wish more people in my neighbourhood realized that. I love spicy pumpkin soup! Your version sounds delicious with the gremolata.

  6. 6
    NicoleD   November 11, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I don’t blame you for adding gremolata, I don’t know if I can make soup without it after your amazing beef stew. This sounds fantastic!!

  7. 7
    kickpleat   November 11, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Thanks so much Tanvi!

    Amy, it totally is – the soup is wonderful without it, but it’s extra special with the gremolata.

    It really is & I’m just new to it, Joanne. It’s fresh and light and it really helps to make this soup shine.

    We belong to the same CSA, don’t we, Ashley? We rec’d a few tiny pumpkins so I roasted them all up and this is the result!

    Bijoux, the ornamental pumpkins are those tiny squash like the one pictured above – not the jack o lanterns, although those can be eaten too! Why waste?

    NicoleD, thank you! I think you’ll love this soup :)

  8. 8
    renee@sweetsugarbean   November 11, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    My Mom keeps asking me if I want one of her pumpkins to roast, and after seeing this recipe, I most definitely do! Sounds yummers. Your Montreal adventure must have been a blast – I so love it there.

  9. 9
    christine [the sugar apothecary]   November 12, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    My goodness, coffee cuppings and gremolata! You’ve had quite the fancy weekend :) Sounds like you had a blast. This soup looks amaaazing… I was having some squash soup issues last week, but this spicier version definitely looks like the way to go!

  10. 10
    kickpleat   November 14, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Renee, yes, grab your mom’s squash and make this. As for Montreal, it was pretty awesome but a bit odd since it was a work event. Still, a gorgeous gorgeous city!

    Yup, Christine it was super fancy and fun! And this soup while seemingly fancy, isn’t a huge production to make which makes it awesome in my books!

  11. 11
    Shelley   November 14, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    As a Texas writer, my tastes tend to run to barbeque. However, you may make me a convert to…gremolata!

  12. 12
    kickpleat   November 16, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    Shelley, why not throw some of that gremolata over some Texas BBQ?? I think that would be pretty delicious over a bowl of pulled pork!

  13. 13
    oh sweet escape   November 21, 2011 at 10:38 am

    it never dawned on me that the ornamental pumpkin can be eaten ’til i saw this post!

  14. 14
    kickpleat   November 28, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    oh sweet escape, it’s true! Eat away :)

  15. 15
    Robert F   December 23, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I made this. The spices seemed overly complex for my palate, I felt that they overwhelmed the basic squash flavor you expect in a soup. Also, I’d suggest using white pepper, as the black pepper I used created unsightly black flecks in the soup. In your defense, you didn’t specify the pepper type. Although if you did, it would have been aleppo, am I right?

  16. 16
    kickpleat   December 25, 2011 at 8:42 am

    I did use plain old black pepper for this, Robert. Thanks for your comments!

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