By contributing writer Mary Cressler

I’ll admit it. I’m not a fan of the cold, rainy, and dreary season, which for me living in Portland, Oregon, lasts, oh, about nine months. Summers here are absolutely perfect with warm sunny days, low to no humidity, and cool nights.

So, I’m admittedly sad when it’s over and therefore the last to welcome fall. It’s right around this time of the year when I finally snap out of my funk and start to embrace the season. It’s usually the bounty of fall foods and flavors that does the trick. It also helps that my two favorite holidays are right around the corner.

One of the first meals I make to celebrate the season is this rich, flavorful, and spicy butternut squash soup. It’s perfect for a crisp night.

Speaking of, one of the first meals I make to celebrate the season is this rich, flavorful, and spicy butternut squash soup. It’s perfect for a crisp night and can be made as a full meal or appetizer. I also make it every year for Thanksgiving.

When it comes to Thanksgiving or any holiday party for that matter, I don’t serve it in a dinner size portion but instead a small appetizer size portion (or even shooter size). For Thanksgiving in particular, with so many competing dishes, I usually present this soup as a walk around appetizer in small 2-ounce portions. Perfect for something to snack on, but won’t fill you before the main event.

The best part, as I discovered recently, is that it works best with my favorite walk around pre-dinner beverage – sparkling wine.

One of the first meals I make to celebrate the season is this rich, flavorful, and spicy butternut squash soup. It’s perfect for a crisp night.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Curry and Ginger
 
Ingredients
  • 1 butternut squash (about 2-3 lbs)
  • 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon butter (split into two)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves (diced)
  • 5-6 cups vegetable or chicken stock (more or less depending on how you prefer the consistency)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Toppings
  • Cooked and crispy bacon pieces
  • Crème fraîche (or Greek yogurt)
  • Fried sage pieces
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut butternut squash in half (lengthwise) and remove the seeds. Drizzle about ½ tablespoon of olive oil on each side for moisture, top each piece with 1-tablespoon butter (cut up into smaller pieces), and then sprinkle the flesh liberally with brown sugar and moderately with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet flesh side up. Roast in the oven 45 min – 1 hour (until the squash is soft enough to easily insert a fork into).
  3. Remove/peel skin from roasted squash, cut up flesh into cubes and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Cut butternut squash in half (lengthwise) and remove the seeds. Drizzle about ½ tablespoon of olive oil on each side for moisture, top each piece with 1-tablespoon butter (cut up into smaller pieces), and then sprinkle the flesh liberally with brown sugar and moderately with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet flesh side up. Roast in the oven 45 min – 1 hour (until the squash is soft enough to easily insert a fork into).
  6. Remove/peel skin from roasted squash, cut up flesh into cubes and set aside.

 

Wine Pairing

This soup can be made to your desired consistency. For me, I like to honor the primary ingredient, squash, and make it slightly thick adding a bit of heavy cream to make it rich and creamy. I love adding curry and ginger to give it a spicy and flavorful note. Topping with bacon gives it a great smoky component and crunch balanced by the sweet and earthy fried sage.

The combination of the thick and creamy soup with the bold spices makes it a primary candidate for a full-bodied, rich, spicy, aromatic, white wine.

Gruner Veltliner, and white Rhone blends can work well with the soup. But my two favorite pairings for this are new world Viognier and Chardonnay. This soup has bold flavors and needs a wine with equally bold flavors and rich textures, and ideally has seen a little bit of oak aging. We don’t want an oak bomb here, but some slight oak aging will give the wine spicy characteristics that will compliment the soup. It’s important that the wine is full bodied.

I tried this soup recently paired with a White Burgundy from France, but even though the wine was Chardonnay and saw some time in oak, it was admittedly too delicate for the soup. The flavors of the soup overpowered the wine, and the wine, therefore, tasted weak and soft. This is why I recommend a bolder Chardonnay from California or Chile.

Butternut Squash Soup and Wine Pairing (Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs) at Wine4.Me/blog

Alternatively, a high acid crisp wine like Riesling or Pinot Gris (Grigio) works well to cut through the richness of the soup and cleanse and refresh the palate. The aromatic fruit notes from the wine will balance out the spice of the soup.

The most surprising and probably best pairing I’ve had with this soup is sparkling wine. I recently paired this soup with a Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Blancs from the Carneros region of Sonoma, CA. The wine, zesty with crisp apple aromas and strong acidity, was a great match for the rich soup. It cut through the creaminess of the soup nicely but also had the bold flavors and vibrant aromatics to hold up to the spicy flavors of the soup.

If you choose to make this soup as an appetizer for a party or Thanksgiving, serving it with a glass of these delicious bubbles will make it the perfect welcome to your party.

Okay, I guess I’ll go ahead and admit it. While I’m still not stoked about the next several months of rain, I am pretty excited to be entering a season full of rich flavorful foods and holiday entertaining.


We hope you enjoy our wine pairing choices. If you want to know which wines YOU will like best, download the FREE iPhone app Wine4.Me. Tell it what wines you know you like and get your own personalized rankings of best-selling, widely available wines in the US.

MaryMary Cressler is a Certified Sommelier, a Wine Location Specialist, and the proprietor of Vindulge: Wine Education & Consulting. She conducts wine classes and events and offers consulting for individuals, restaurants, and event planners.

She writes about wine, food, and travel on her blog Vindulge. Mary resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, twin boys, and two Chihuahuas.

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4 thoughts on “Butternut Squash Soup and Wine Pairing

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  1. Pingback: Recent Articles — Butternut Squash Soup and Wine Pairing on VineSleuth Uncorked | Vindulge

  2. Emilie 3 years ago

    Thanks for sharing this! My sister makes a wonderful squash soup and didn’t know what wine to pair it with, and this was so helpful.

  3. Pingback: #WineFit Challenge Day 4: King Estate Signature Collection Pinot Gris | Wine4.Me

  4. Chris M 1 year ago

    I would love to try this butternut squash soup with curry and ginger, but the recipe does not seem to be complete on this webpage–the instructions are just the first 3 steps on how to roast the squash, no further instructions. The first 3 steps are repeated as steps 5-7. Please publish the full recipe so I can make this wonderful-sounding soup!